If you're caring for a parent with Parkinson's at home, you may be struggling to adapt to challenges, cope with potential stress, and provide the best care.
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Therapy and Resources
During this difficult process, it is important to recognize what is in your control. While you can provide love and support for your parent with Parkinson's, often, you can not provide full-scale medical care. Caring for your parent with Parkinson's at home requires your oversight of adequate therapy programs. It is important for your parent to work with both a physical therapist and an occupational therapist. An occupational therapist is trained to help people overcome disabilities to function in work and home environments specializing in Parkinson's disease. This combination is ideal. The physical therapist can prescribe exercises that may reduce physical ailments associated with Parkinson's. Further, the occupational therapist can teach your parent ways to make every day, mundane activities easier.
Be Mindful of Tremors
Experiencing tremors is a large symptom of Parkinson's. To assist your parent in managing his or her tremors, help them to press the elbow of the arm that's shaking against their body to try and stabilize the upper arm. Another approach is placing a rigid brace over the joint and then adding some weight on the hand. This can potentially reduce a tremor and restore control. Additionally, part of caring for your parent with Parkinson's includes monitoring his or her diet. Some have found that reducing caffeine intake--in beverages such as coffee, tea, or soda--can reap positive effects and contribute to reduced tremors.
Watch Activity and Energy Levels
Parkinson's is extremely debilitating, but you can definitely help your parent to mitigate the debilitating effects. Get creative when it comes to finding ways to conserve energy. For instance, group necessities -- like reading glasses or the phone -- in an area close to where he or she sits. Your parent may find eating and chewing tiring as a side effect of their Parkinson's. In this case you should ensure they eat smaller meals, but more frequently. Further, drinks like shakes or smoothies may make swallowing easier, as thicker drinks facilitate swallowing. Moist and soft foods are best in this situation, and try to avoid crumby foods -- like crackers or cakes -- as these may catch in the throat.
Aid Depression and Anxiety Associated with Parkinson's
The struggles that come with Parkinson's can surpass merely physical symptoms. As a result of such a trying illness, it is entirely possible your parent may develop anxiety and/or depression. To ensure you do not overmedicate your parent, it behooves you to turn to natural and healthy solutions. For instance, encourage your parent to lightly exercise. Exercise can help to lift a person's spirits and foster a sense of control over one's body. To combat anxiety, suggest they practice muscle relaxing techniques, which can potentially boost one's immune system as well.
For more information about caring for your parent with Parkinson's at home, or to inquire about our in-home care services, please contact Compassionate Assistance at (480) 468-2699.