||Basic caring skills for people
looking after someone with Parkinson's disease
we feel happy and sad, we laugh and cry and get mad at each other"
carers have any training for the role and most learn how best to help by
‘trial and error’. You should try to have realistic expectations of
the amount of care that is required (now and in the future) and of what
you can provide.
needs of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) will tend to change over
time and their abilities can also fluctuate from hour to hour.
Consequently their care needs are not constant. You should try to
encourage independence, offering support and help when required, but not
taking over. Being a carer does not mean doing everything.
the nature of PD, its treatment and the range of services available is
necessary if you are to provide effective care. The more you understand,
the easier it will be to work through day-to-day problems and to play an
active rather than a passive role in management.
of PD are often made worse by stress and pressure. Try to be a calming
influence and avoid pressuring them to speed up. Help them to have the
time and space to accomplish tasks by themselves.
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‘a partner in care’, you need to work closely and confidently
alongside all the health and social care professionals involved so that
the needs of the person you are looking after, as well as your own
needs, are best met. The partnerships you form should help to maintain
the independence and dignity of both of you.
how to get the best from PD medication is essential. Ask the doctor,
specialist nurse or pharmacist to explain this to you and check that the
person you are caring for is taking their drugs as prescribed. Try and
accompany the person with PD to medical appointments so that you can
discuss concerns at first hand.
involves looking after psychological as well as physical needs. Try to
ensure that family and friends maintain contact and keep memories alive
through visits, photographs and letters. It is likely to be helpful and
more enjoyable if you do things together.
remember that everybody needs help at times and you should not be
hesitant about asking for it. The best way to provide understanding,
emotional support and physical help will depend on what you and the
person you care for decide.
The Parkinson’s Disease
Society (telephone 020 7931 8080;
and Carers UK (0808 8087777;
can provide information and support to carers.
Useful books include:
Carer’s Handbook: A Practical Guide to
looking after ill, disabled and elderly people, published in 1997 by
Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 0 7513 0464 6.
Useful websites include:
CARE - Caregivers of people with Parkinson’s
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