Parkinson’s is one of the most complex conditions requiring in-home care. Due to the physically degenerative aspect of the disease, patients with Parkinson’s retain their mental acuity and emotional sense while losing physical control of their bodies. This means that an in-home care plan must be well thought out to balance and address the physical, mental and emotional aspects of this condition’s progressive nature. 

Configuring a personalized and effective care plan for your loved one with Parkinson’s can be broken down into 3 central ideas:

  1. Become thoroughly familiar with the 4 symptoms and stages of Parkinson’s
  2. Understand 3 key complexities of this condition:
    1. Physical repercussions
    2. Benefit of 1-1 in-home care
    3. Related comorbidities requiring nuanced planning
  3. Engage with experienced companies and caregivers with the expertise to take you beyond basic checklists to pre-emptive, personalized, and quality care solutions to ensure your loved one’s safety 
Symptoms & Stages of Parkinson’s
Comorbidities with Parkinson’s and their Impact

Parkinson’s commonly presents with comorbidities such as diabetes or dementia thus multiplying the key aspects and cadence of care. For example, 

  • Caregivers must be able to balance the timing and frequency of medications, dietary requirements, physical challenges of Parkinson’s along with the timing of medications and dietary requirements for diabetes. 
  • In later stage Parkinson’s, patients might also suffer from strokes which could have a severe impact on the patient’s quality of life and ability to be physically independent. 
The Importance of Personalization and Experience in Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s care is commonly approached with a simple checklist of easy-to-follow Do’s and Don’ts for safety, diet and medication routines, to name a few. While these are definitely helpful, a checklist does not do justice to the level of personalization needed in caring for a person living with Parkinson’s given the breadth, complexity and co-morbidity of managing this condition – and that is precisely why the experience and expertise of your care providers matters a whole lot. 

  • No two Parkinson’s patients or their disease progression are alike
    • Symptoms can progress at an unanticipated pace that ranges from weeks or months to even years in some cases
  • Parkinson’s is the only condition where the patient is both physically and mentally challenged throughout
    • Physical challenges present themselves in the following ways:
      • Involuntary ability to not lift or move an object. In later stages this often includes the patient’s ability to move themselves
      • Tremors that start on one side of the body but in more progressed cases affect both sides with little to no control by the patient
      • Rigidity resulting in limited facial expressions, stooped posture, and limited mobility in walking, moving limbs, and even standing or walking
    • Mental challenges have a wider and deeper impact:
      • Because physical changes appear first with Parkinson’s, there is a tremendous impact on the patient’s mental and emotional well-being
      • Retaining complete mental acuity while losing physical control of one’s body, and eventually becoming completely dependent on another person for one’s physical needs leads to a cycle of stress, anxiety, and depression in many patients
    • Family members are also affected by the mental health consequences and in turn, their stress and anxiety about providing adequate care or sourcing a quality caregiver can further the patient’s stress levels
Approaching Parkinson’s Care – Do’s and Don’ts 

Parkinson’s is challenging to manage and affects the patient and their family on many levels. The most important Do’s and Don’ts come down to the caregiving process. 

  • Do – seek an experienced caregiver who has worked with Parkinson’s patients before
    • Experienced caregivers provide an immense amount of support to both the patient and the family members
    • They can anticipate and plan for the constantly changing physical conditions that come with Parkinson’s 
    • The right caregiver also provides emotional support by understanding the challenges that come with losing control of one’s physical capabilities. Empathy and providing care that maintains the patient’s dignity is incredibly important
  • Don’t – outsource your loved one’s care to a situation where they will not have 1:1 care or where the caregiver has no previous experience with Parkinson’s
    • Institutional care options like assisted living or skilled nursing facilities typically have an average of 10:1 patient to caregiver ratio. While these options are convenient and cost-effective, their model itself does not allow them to provide the 1:1 care which is most beneficial to Parkinson’s patients 
    • Studies show that Parkinson’s patients with consistent, 1:1 care benefit greatly  and both improve and extend their quality of life
    • A less expensive caregiver is not a good approach for Parkinson’s. From managing comorbidities to anticipating next stages of disease to managing the patient and family’s journey, a Parkinson’s caregiver has much to manage and plan. Experience matters.
    • Family members who plan to care for their loved one themselves must take on a steep learning curve about Parkinson’s, create a care plan, and manage the emotional and physical stress of 1-1 Parkinson’s care along with personal lives and responsibilities. An experienced caregiver is a very effective ally to tag team with the family, and support you to focus on spending quality time with your loved one
Practical Do’s and Don’ts
Parkinson’s impacts the physical, mental, and social abilities of your loved ones. Parkinson’s home care by an experienced caregiver is an effective approach for a Parkinson’s patient. The life of your loved one and your family is significantly altered by this disease – a steady, knowledgeable caregiver can help mitigate stress, and provide quality and dignified care. A well prepared and aligned team of family members and professional caregivers will significantly ease their lives with reliable in-home care. At Care Mountain, we have been providing in-home care for Parkinson’s patients for one and a half decades with our proven and personalized approach. We have highly experienced caregivers available to support you and your loved ones’ care.  Give us a call to discuss your needs.
January 18, 2022
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