Care for the Caregiver
Education and Awareness
-Learn about the disease in Parkinson's Facts. Understanding what is happening and what to expect is half the battle.
-No what treatments are available.
-Ask about the most common side effects and what to do about them.
-Learn how Parkinson's changes over time. The key is not to get so caught up in the symptoms that you are overwhelmed but to think about ways that you can change how you do things to reduce of delay any problems down the road.
Assemble Your Team
-Who will you go to in times of stress or for support- Friends, family, counselor, neighbor, clergy, support group members.
-Your medical team is more than your doctor. Review the specialists that are available to you.
-Understand how rehabilitation can help and when you should ask for it.
-Keeping track of the medical treatments, appointments and results can be time consuming. Keep items in one place such as a notebook. See Every Victory Counts at www.everyvictorycounts.org a care book designed for just this purpose. Alternatively, get a simple 3 ring binder to store your information, questions, medication lists.
-Be Prepared and My Medical Chart, has forms to help with this task, Print these forms and use these tools for your benefit and to organize information related to your medical care.
-Knowing your not alone can be very comforting. Look for a support group
for caregivers in your community. Senior centers, community centers, hospitals, libraries, and religious organizations offer support groups.
-Do not be afraid to say 'no.' Prioritize what you do. This may mean giving up some things that you did in the past especially if they are not very important to you.
life now rather than waiting until things get difficult.
-Do not wait until there is a problem to find a solution. At that point it may be too late and you are more apt to feel a loss of control.
-Life planning is an important and often neglected topic. What will you do if you can no longer take care of your loved one at home. Who can you call for help? What resources are available to you? Ask your provider if there is a nurse or social worker that you can talk to about these issues.
Set Aside Time
-Caregiving can leave you tired, zapped of energy and with little time. It is important to set aside a moment each day- even if it is just 5 minutes. Have a cup of tea, talk to a friend, keep a journal.
-Learn to relax
. Simple techniques such as yoga, slow breathing, meditation or guided imagery will help.
-Surround yourself with the healing powers of nature.
-Listen to music
, be present and live in the moment
Find the positive
. Even simple things such as watching a comedy can help.
-Is there something to be grateful
for today, in this moment?
Do not forget your own health.
-Do not forget about yearly medical physicals and preventative health for yourself.
-Exercise and eat well
Do not lose what is you
-Continue your outside interests, passion or hobbies.
-Find respite. Work is not respite.
-Find a moment you can keep to yourself
-Chocolate anyone, massage, movie matinee?
Author: Monique Giroux, MD
Copyright 2011 Northwest Parkinson's Foundation Wellness Center