Parkinson’s affects more than 10 million people worldwide, so it’s vital to raise as much awareness of the condition as possible.

As well as impacting the lives of those living with the condition, it also affects their friends, family and loved ones. It can be a big change for everyone – adapting to a life with Parkinson’s, so it’s important that everybody is fully equipped to provide the appropriate care and support required.

For some, the symptoms may take a little longer to develop and may not need any further support just yet, however knowledge is power. With that in mind, it’s crucial that people know what to expect and how they can help.

In this piece, Lorna Regan, qualified nurse and National Wellbeing Lead for leading care provider at Radis Community Care shares five ways people can support a loved one living with Parkinson’s.

  1. Research

Knowledge really is power. The symptoms of Parkinson’s can vary quite a lot, and so it’s important to understand current and future symptoms and how to prepare for it.

Understand how Parkinson’s can affect a person both physically and mentally, and educate yourself on the different ways a person may be affected by the progressive condition.

  1. Start a conversation

It can be difficult for everybody, but especially the person diagnosed and living with Parkinson’s. If a friend, family member or loved one is living with the condition, then check in with them, see how they are and make regular visits. And, talk to them about something other than condition – see what else is going on in their lives and have a proper catch up.

A person living with Parkinson’s may not notice any new symptoms or changes, especially if they begin to appear slowly and gradually. However, if you visit a loved one on a regular basis, you may be able to notice changes in their physical and mental health as well as any new symptoms.

Symptoms can be both physical and cognitive and some to look out for are; a tremor, muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, constipation and frequently passing urine, depression and anxiety, and memory issues.

A change in symptoms and any concerns should always be discussed with a medical professional, and passing on these concerns early, can kickstart treatment and improve the symptoms and overall health and wellbeing.

  1. Consider utilising community care services

This depends on how much  a person is affected by Parkinson’s. For some, they may be able to live an entirely normal and independent life for many years, however others may need more regular support and care.

Consider the likes of visiting care, live-in care and extra care services to help a loved one continue living a life of independence.

The support of a care worker can offer short-term and long-term care as well as respite for family carers. From daily visits and check ins to having the support of a live-in the carer, the choice is yours and can be entirely tailored to meet individual needs.

  1. Stay connected

Living with a disease or condition such as Parkinson’s can be a very isolating time, so it is important for people to remain active and connected with their friends, family members and local communities.

Staying physically and mentally fit is crucial, and getting involved in local coffee mornings, community bingo events and wiggle and giggle such as those held at the likes of the John Chapman Day Centre in Norfolk, is a great way to remain active.

Regular exercise can help ease muscle stiffness and improve overall mood and feelings of stress, so it’s important to stay as active as possible, too.

Noticing the symptoms worsening can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, and exercise is a great way to combat these feelings with a boost of serotonin.

  1. Just be you

A lot will have changed for the person now living with Parkinson’s, and as their family and friends, this will undoubtedly change things for you, too. However, your loved one will need consistency and will not want you to change how you act or behave around them, as well as how you treat them.

You may now help them with tasks that you hadn’t previously, however outside of this, it’s important for your relationship with them to stay relatively the same.

Be there when they want to talk, listen to them, and go about your usual routines as this will help them feel much more comfortable and at ease with their new-found situation.

 

Those are Lorna’s top tips for supporting a loved one with Parkinson’s. However, there is so much to consider when trying to support or care for a loved one with such a complex condition.

It’s important to remember you don’t have to do it alone and support is there should you need it, too.

Left Menu Icon