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The Caregiver’s Role for those with Parkinson’s Disease

As a Parkinson’s disease caregiver, your primary responsibility is provide emotional support for your loved one who has been diagnosed with this chronic and progressive illness.  Just as importantly, you will need to provide the physical assistance for their daily needs, personal hygiene and household chores.

You should become an advocate for your loved one and the eyes and ears for your medical team. Attend all doctor visits and report on any new behaviors, physical and mental changes and your impressions of how the disease treatments are working.

As the daily caregiver, you are witness to what your loved one is going through and in a perfect position to communicate those symptoms to the patient’s neurologist and primary care doctor. By doing so, you will make a tremendous contribution to your loved one’s Parkinson’s disease treatment. Conversely, your daily involvement, can help to execute the doctor’s Parkinson’s treatment plan by making sure the patient takes medication on time and completes all necessary exercises.

Parkinson Caregivers Provide Help by Overseeing:

Monitoring and Reporting Symptoms

If your loved one is taking medication properly but the number or severity of symptoms is increasing, you need to report it to their doctor. Specific symptoms to watch for include tremors (uncontrollable shaking) and rigidity (trouble moving the limbs). You should tell the medical team if your loved one is having problems walking, talking, swallowing, or remembering basic information.

Monitor and Reporting Mood Changes

Parkinson’s patients are known to suffer from periods of depression, denial, anxiety, and stress. Report any of these conditions to your medical team.

Monitoring and Reporting Sleep Patterns

Many Parkinson’s patients have trouble sleeping. The disease and Parkinson’s medication can create daytime drowsiness, but no allow for sleep at night. Fatigue can worsen Parkinson symptoms, so talk with your medical team if your loved one is not sleeping well at night.

Planning for the Future

You will also need to prepare yourself and plan for a time when you can no longer provide proper in-home care, and your loved one will need the 24/7 assistance provided by trained medical professionals. The road ahead can seem overwhelming, so remember to look after yourself as well as your loved one.

Caring for Yourself

You can only be a good caregiver if you take proper care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, exercise and eat right. Take needed breaks and consider using one of Jacksonville’s respite care facilities.

Other Parkinson’s Care Options in Jacksonville and Orange Park

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