Few conditions can be as debilitating and emotionally taxing as Parkinson’s Disease. As things progress and become more difficult it is more important than ever to remember to care for yourself as well as your loved one so you don’t burn out. Take time for yourself and make sure you have time to relax and de-stress, even for a few hours.
To help you we want to give a few tips on caring for a family member with Parkinson’s Disease:
Meet with doctors, read articles, subscribe to newsletters, and join a support group. Today there are many resources, locally and globally that you can connect with to help you get familiar with what is happening and prepare for the long run. This will help you understand what changes to expect in your loved one’s behavior or symptoms and make plans for immediate changes and future changes that you will need to make to your lifestyles.
Don’t take everything on yourself, all at once
Let your loved one participate in their care and take baby steps. Allow them the time to complete daily activities on their own, such as dressing and eating to help keep them active and engaged. The most frustrating part is losing control and small steps when first diagnosed can help prolong the inevitable.
Take baby steps and set goals, both for your loved one to continue living as independently as possible, and for you to get used to caring for someone that can’t care for themselves.
Don’t forget to keep yourself healthy
Make sure to focus on your own health, both physical and emotional. Do not put your life on hold. Make plans with friends, go out for dinner, make time to go to the gym, or just take a stroll in the park. Your loved one won’t want you giving up the things that you enjoy any more than you must.
When you get stressed or burned out you face a greater risk of getting sick yourself which will make you unable to care for your loved one or yourself. So it really is in everyone’s best interest to take some time for yourself on a regular basis.
Build a support network
Don’t try and be a lone soldier. Have someone you can talk to. While you are there to support your loved one, you need someone to support you when things get tough. Make time for coffee with a close friend, rely on your siblings to help destress. Know that it is ok to feel stressed and tired and have someone who understands things from day one with you so that if you need to talk about the burden you don’t face any guilt or judgement. If this isn’t something that you can find, look for support groups in your city, either Parkinson’s specific ones, or any number that are related to care giver support. Keep in mind the classic phrase, “It takes a village”.
And always remember, the Care At Home Services team is ready to help you 24/7, whether it’s for a few hours or on a regular basis to lighten your load, give us a call and speak with our team about how we can help you or your loved ones.