Owners' Blog

Preparing Yourself for Being a Caregiver for a Senior with Parkinson's Disease

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

Taking on the role of being a family caregiver for an elderly adult is always something that should involve thought and preparation. This is especially true if you are going to be caring for an elderly adult who is living with a severe health issue such as Parkinson's disease. Seniors living with this condition experience a wide range of symptoms and challenges, and this presents special circumstances for their family caregiver. It is very important for you to take the time to really understand the challenges you are facing as a caregiver, and to prepare yourself for them. This not only helps to ensure you will be able to give your parent the care and assistance they need throughout their progression, but also that you can maintain your own health and well-being as well.

Some of the challenges of being a family caregiver for a senior with Parkinson's disease you should prepare yourself for at the beginning of the progression include:

  • The symptoms and challenges of Parkinson's disease do not stay the same. Not only is this disease progressive, meaning your parent will pass through a variety of stages during the disease, but the symptoms can vary drastically from day to day, and even within the same day. It is important to recognize this variance of severity so you can adjust your care accordingly
  • Preserving independence and autonomy for your aging parent should be an important focus of your care, but it can be difficult to know when to encourage them to do something on their own, and when you need to step in to provide help. And you must be ready to evaluate each situation, and make the decision that is right in that moment. You must also ready yourself for the possibility that you will make the wrong decision, and be ready to apologize, fix your mistake, and move forward
  • Remember that your elderly adult may not be aware of the extent of their functioning decline, or impairments. They may understand that they are living with Parkinson's disease, but not know just how much this disease has affected them. This can result in them not recognizing risks, and even being resistant to care. It is important that you prepare yourself for these behaviors, and be ready to resolve them for the safety of your parent
  • One of the greatest challenges you may face as a caregiver actually has nothing to do with your senior. Instead, you may realize that friends and family who do not regularly interact with your parent underestimate just how much Parkinson's disease impacts your senior, and just how extensive the care and effort you must give them is on a daily basis. This can result in them minimizing what you go through, or not understanding when you need help and support. Prepare yourself to be upfront, straightforward, and honest with your friends and family, and clear about what you go through as well as what they can do to help you

When you are facing the task of being a family caregiver for your aging parent, it is important that you take the time to truly prepare yourself for the challenges you will face. While much of this involves evaluating your limitations, adjusting your schedule, and talking to family, friends, and those at work about your new role, these are not the only steps in your caregiver preparation. Getting ready for this role should also include considering home care. An in-home senior care services provider it can be an invaluable supplement to the care you give your parent, boosting your senior's quality of life and reducing your stress. Starting this care from the beginning can establish a beneficial routine and help your parent maintain their independence and health to the highest degree possible as they age in place.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Sandy Springs, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.