Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease at home can be like sailing a ship through uncharted waters. Currents, wind shifts and changing weather patterns all influence the ship’s course on a daily basis.
The effects of Parkinson’s disease also present an unpredictable course and caregivers must continually seek solutions and a positive direction for the care they provide.
Barbara has been caring for her husband for over 10 years.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and she has remained steadfast with his care at home.
Through the years, she has been creative in developing practical ideas that save time, require less energy and reduce stress.
Most importantly, employment of these concepts has enabled her to maintain the dignity and independence of her husband:
Start Planning in the Early Stages
In the early stages of her husband’s disease, Barbara made an appointment for occupational and physical therapy consultations along with a home environment assessment.
This decision helped her to begin planning for the physical care and necessary home modifications to support her husband’s needs.
She offers these additional ideas for caregivers to customize their caregiving procedures as needs arise:
Wheelchairs — consider two separate chairs; one to use for indoor mobility and at the kitchen table (can be locked in place), and one to use for outings to the mall or family gatherings.
Walker — the best investment has been a four-wheeled walker with balloon tires, hand brakes and a padded seat. It glides over the ground and uneven surfaces and was paid for by Medicare and a co-insurance policy.
Canvas aprons can be purchased at craft stores. Cut the ties off and replace with elastic on the top to enable the care receiver to put it on without help. Vinyl or quilted bibs/aprons can also be purchased from medical supply companies. Place the bottom half of the apron underneath the plate for neater mealtimes.
Use cups or glasses with lids and straw holes to prevent spilling. A two-handled cup with a spouted lid can also be kept by the bedside.
If the care receiver has tremors, buy shallow soup bowls and edge guards for plates to keep the food contained.
Purchase utensils with weighted, built-up or angled handles to help hands remain steady.
As one can see, revising care procedures and modifying your home can promote successful caregiving. In addition, these ideas will uphold the dignity and independence of the care receiver. Learn from others who have walked in your shoes and set your sails for a new direction in providing care for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease.
Based on an article by Kristine Dwyer and Barbara Churchill
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