Caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease, like any chronic disease, affects families as well as individuals.
Close family members often take on the role of caregiver as the disease progresses and, in many ways, are as constrained as the person with Parkinson’s disease. Carers can find themselves in a role that may increasingly isolate them from work, family and social activities as they dedicate themselves to care giving. While they may take on the role willingly, the fact is they too have suffered significant loss in terms of opportunities and the future they may have planned.
Carers need factual, credible information and support as much as the person afflicted by Parkinson’s disease. They need someone to talk to about their feelings as much as they might need practical advice. Caring appropriately for someone doesn’t always come naturally and carers may need to learn new skills. Communication and negotiation skills are particularly important in order to balance the needs of both carer and the person with Parkinson’s disease. Carers also need to look after their own health by getting enough sleep and exercise and prioritising some time for themselves.