As the population ages, more Canadians are living with Parkinson’s disease. In fact, according to Parkinson Canada, more than 25 people in Canada are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every day, with 85% of those being over the age of 65. It is expected that there will be more than 163,700 Canadians with Parkinson’s by 2031.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can include:
- Tremor of hands, arms, legs, or face
- Rigidity of the muscles
- Slowness of motion or shuffling gait
- Balance problems
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Speech difficulties
- Depression, sleep disruptions, or memory problems.
The role of loved ones
According to experts, persons living with Parkinson’s have the best chance of management when they have a good support system of family and friends. Loved ones can show their support by:
- Supporting the person through their diagnosis process, including helping them get to their doctor appointments, ensuring they get their questions answered, and understanding the doctor’s instructions.
- Encouraging them with their treatment – the medical regimen for Parkinson’s patients can be extensive. Loved ones can help by ensuring the person remembers to take their medication and is following other recommendations.
- Day to day living – As Parkinson’s progress, your loved one may need assistance with day to day activities such as grooming or financing matters.
- Transportation – Often, people with Parkinson’s can continue to drive for some time after their diagnosis; however, as their symptoms worsen, driving may become too dangerous, and you may be called upon to help them with errands or getting to appointments.
- Emotional support – losing one’s independence takes its toll emotionally, and your loved one may need someone to encourage them or to simply listen. In some cases, you may want to bring in a family counsellor as well.
When to bring in home care
Dealing with Parkinson’s progression can be extremely difficult for the person who has it and often challenging for their family. It can be overwhelming to see a loved one lose independence, especially while juggling more responsibilities involved with their care.
A home care worker can alleviate some of that stress by taking over various tasks such as helping with personal care, running errands, and providing respite care so that family and friends can take some time to recharge their emotional batteries.
If you have a loved one living with Parkinson’s and you would like to learn more about how home care can help, contact VERA Home Care today.