Helping Someone who has Parkinson’s Disease

Caring for a loved one can be difficult if they have Parkinson’s Disease. You will need to adapt to the new lifestyle, as well as being able to help your senior loved one with their daily tasks. You should know everything from dressing your loved one, to what will help aid them, to activity planning. Even if you are not the primary caregiver to someone with Parkinson’s disease, these helpful tips will help you with caring for your aging loved ones.

Since Parkinson’s disease results in a decline of motor skills and loss of strength, it is important to allow extra time and patience. Some tips for dressing someone with Parkinson’s disease include:

  • choosing clothing that can be easily put on or taken off such as Velcro, elastic waistbands, and front opening clothing
  • adaptive clothing along with adaptive equipment can help aid you in dressing your loved one
  • dressing should be done while your loved one is sitting
  • avoid patterned clothing and items without buttons or zippers
  • for women, use bras with front closures, and make sure the bra is comfortable
  • socks should be to the ankle or just below the ankle for easy removal
  • if your loved one cannot get out of bed, a gown with a back closure is best and make sure to smooth any linen wrinkles to prevent pressure sores

There are some homemade aids and devices that your loved one can use if they suffer from Parkinson’s disease. These include: tape can be tied on a cane and hung from the wrist while walking upstairs to serve as wrist straps, a basket attached to a walker for storing necessities, egg cartons can be used to organize pills, non-slip safety mats are great for trays and tables as well as near the toilet and sink areas, increase the size of a light switch by putting a pen cap over the switch, and a pull rope attached to the end of the bed will help them change positions easier. There are many homemade aids, but you can also find devices to help your loved one by contacting a senior medical equipment service.

Planning activities will help a person with Parkinson’s disease from withdrawing from their social life as they age. Depending on their energy levels, you should make a weekly plan as to what activities you should do with your loved one. A daily task sheet may be even more helpful to ensure your loved one’s well-being. Music, naps, and social interaction should all be included in the daily regimen. You may also want to jot down what time is a good time for breakfast, bathroom, lunch, dinner, and sleep cycles. It is good to know when your loved one has the most energy, so that you can incorporate more activity during those times. Having a full-time caregiver can help a person with Parkinson’s stay on track in their daily lives, and it will help them gain control and more mobility having a person that they trust guide them in their everyday lives.

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