Caring for someone with Parkinson’s is not an easy job, and is physically and emotionally taxing on any carer. However, if a carer takes the time to understand both the personality of the person they are caring for and does as much research on the disease as possible, the experience can be rewarding for both the carer and their patient.
Here are four rules to follow:
- Only focus on the disease when caring requires it. In other words when you are not helping someone to bath, eat or take their medication then don’t talk about it. The disease is real and you are both aware of it. Make sure that as much time is used to focus on what the person can still do and what they want to do, instead of what they can’t. Don’t let Parkinson’s define who either of you are.
- Remember that everything you are doing is for someone else. Effectively caring for someone with Parkinson’s is a selfless act that can never be repaid. Wake up each morning and say to yourself “this person cannot survive without me, and I have my health in order to help them.” Diseases like Alzheimer’s will not go away, so wishing it would is only a waste of time and a source of emotional pain.
- Join a support group or make friends with other carers. Sharing a burden is one of the best ways to find new ideas, express your fears and share in your triumphs. These range of emotions are proven to psychologically cleanse your mind of negativity associated with loneliness and a sense that you are alone with your troubles. You meet other people with the same difficulties and it’s a great way to understand and be understood.
- Allow the patient some level of control. If you try to get them to do too much you will only end up causing frustration and disappointment. Be guided by what is best for the patient, and that is for them to do things for themselves for as much and as long as possible.