Houston family caregivers face a myriad of age-related diseases and their associated complications each year. Most notably, with 60,000 newly-diagnosed patients of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) each year, that burden continues to grow.
April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month and information describing symptoms and treatment for the patient is easily obtained this time of year. However, the family caregiver of a Parkinson’s patient is an incredibly important role for the total care spectrum. The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation features a comprehensive overview of the caregiver’s role in the Parkinson’s journey, as well as resources for every aspect of the disease.
The following list highlights a few of the key points for family caregivers:
1. Discuss the disease with loved ones. Learning about the disease is the first step to accepting and coping with the complications of Parkinson’s Disease.
2. Find a good doctor. Seek out a specialized neurologist that is competent in movement issues.
3. Educate yourself and others about PD. Educating family, friends and healthcare professionals helps increase awareness and understanding of the disease.
4. Locate a support group. Surround yourself with others who are supportive of your concerns and needs.
5. Seek support from family, friends, and other caregivers. Developing a network helps you deal with sudden changes in the disease progress.
6. Make life planning decisions. Consult with a legal professional to secure wills, powers of attorney, medical directives and other legal documents.
7. Care for the caregiver. Caregiving is difficult work and it takes scheduling, planning, stamina and a terrific support network.
Source: “Caregiver Support Issues” presented by Rhona Johnson at the Parkinson Disease Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Educational Symposium.
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