Most people develop Parkinson’s disease around the age of 60. It can start earlier, but it’s not as common. It may affect your mom or dad, but it is more common in men. When it’s your parent who has Parkinson’s, it may be alarming and hard to stay positive.
The four key symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are tremors, stiffness, a slow gait, and balance issues. head, jaw, and legs. After a Parkinson’s diagnosis is to line up a support team, get all of your questions asked and answered, and educate yourself.
Ask your parent if you can go to the doctor or specialist. Jot down questions you have and be ready to ask them. Listen to all the doctor says and ask questions you have if the doctor hasn’t answered them.
You may have to get permission to talk to your mom’s or dad’s doctor. If you’re not an authorized person on HIPAA paperwork, you need to be. You might also want to discuss the importance of being a medical power of attorney so that you can make medical decisions if your parent cannot speak for him or herself months years from now.
Read everything you can find on Parkinson’s disease. Brain & Life is a free magazine that covers neurological disorders. It often has informative articles on Parkinson’s. Borrow books from the library, read medical websites, and visit websites like Michael J. Fox’s Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
The more information you have, the more you can help your mom or dad. As a family caregiver, you’ll want to be armed with as much knowledge as you can get.
Get a support team in place. Elderly care is a big part of that. If you’re going to be your mom’s or dad’s main caregiver, you’ll still need to take breaks. Talk to your siblings or elderly care services to arrange help.
You may be taking care of the housework, laundry, and appointments. A professional caregiver could pick up groceries and medications, make meals, and order prescription refills. Your brother could take on bill paying.
The more help you have, the easier it is for you. It also ensures your parent has a variety of people to talk to each week. There will come a point where your parent needs help with showers, getting out of bed, walking up and down the stairs, brushing and flossing teeth, toileting, and more.
Elderly care is critical at that point. It also gives you the chance to step away and take breaks you need to keep from feeling exhausted or overwhelmed. Call an elderly care agency to make arrangements.