Parkinson’s disease affects nearly one million Americans and progresses with age. There is no known cause or cure for this illness, but it can be managed with medication and surgery. It is characterized by damaged nerve cells in the brain, so it can have adverse effects on coordination.
Since symptoms vary, treatment comes down to working with the individual’s condition. Here are details for caregivers to understand when assisting patients.
- Tremor in limbs, jaw and face
- Slowness or stiffness in movement
- Unstable posture and awkward coordination
- Difficulty walking and sleeping
- Depression, anxiety and emotional problems
- Memory loss, trouble communicating effectively
Maintaining Quality of Life
It’s important for caregivers to learn as much as possible about the symptoms and treatments for Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses it can trigger, such as dementia. One of your main responsibilities should be to keep track of doctor’s appointments and medication schedules.
You can also help the patient by encouraging them to get proper exercise and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s crucial that the patient stays socially active with friends and participates in hobbies or activities of personal interest. Sports, video games and puzzles can help motivate people with this disorder.
- Learn about the patient’s interests and help them set realistic goals
- Introduce them to a support group
- Encourage participation in multiple activities (music, storytelling)
- Help the patient organize a personal history scrapbook
- Be a good listener and behavioral observer
- Facilitate a non-threatening environment
- Communicate instructions in precise, short, and familiar phrases
- Speak slowly in a warm, gentle tone and be patient for a response
- Be conscious of facial expressions, eye contact, gestures and touch
As a caregiver for a person with Parkinson’s disease, you must set an example as a friendly role model, while treating the patient like an adult. Always be conscious of both your verbal and non-verbal communication.
Make sure that they stay on top of treatment. For more information about treating Parkinson’s disease in California, visit Newport Home Care. It’s a family owned facility that provides many medical solutions to assist caregivers and patients.