Tuesday, May 14, 2024
Tuesday, May 14, 2024
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Coping With Parkinson’s Disease

How To Talk To A Loved One About Parkinsons Disease

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These are some strategies that can be helpful while talking to a loved one about Parkinsons disease:

  • Check in regularly: Check in on the person regularly to ask them how theyre feeling and coping.
  • Use empathetic language: Parkinsons disease can affect a persons ability to go about their daily life. The person might find it challenging to do things they once did easily. This can be difficult and frustrating for them. Try to be empathetic when you speak to them, so they feel supported.
  • Offer assistance: As Parkinsons disease progresses, the person may not be able to drive, cook, clean, or care for themselves. Offer them your assistance and let them know they can count on you.
  • Encourage them to settle their affairs: If your loved one is in a position to make important decisions, it can be helpful to encourage them to settle their affairs.

Shifting Abilities Role Reversals

People with PD often need more time to perform activities because of changes in hand coordination, muscle stiffness or slowness. Conflict may arise as it becomes necessary to reevaluate who is responsible for what tasks in the family and around the home.Changing abilities and assuming new roles can cause frustration and emotional upheaval, while stress makes PD symptoms worse.

Parkinson’s Disease Tests And Diagnosis

There are, unfortunately, no standard tests for diagnosing Parkinson’s disease. Instead, doctors will make a diagnosis based on a review of their patient’s symptoms, medical history, and physical and neurological examination. Doctors will also consider other conditions that may be causing the symptoms and order tests for them. This may include imaging tests that do not assist in diagnosing Parkinson’s disease.

Patients may also be prescribed disease-specific medication. If their condition improves significantly while taking the medication, it is likely confirmation of the diagnosis. Diagnosing Parkinson’s disease can take some time and require regular follow-up appointments to evaluate symptoms. Family members may also need to be consulted for information during this process as well.

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Preparing For Doctors Appointments

Patients and their families should always ensure they are prepared for a doctors appointment when dealing with Parkinsons disease. With this in mind, they should note down symptoms, even if they do not seem related, as well as any recent major changes or stresses. Additionally, these notes should include all the medications the patient is taking. This must include natural supplements and vitamins as well.

Patients and their family members should also consider writing down all of the questions they have, no matter how insignificant they may seem. Some things many individuals will want to know about include what tests they will require, treatments being considered, and details on other conditions being dealt with. Many patients will also want more information about Parkinsons disease. While patients can go alone, it is incredibly helpful to bring a family member or other loved one along for emotional support, especially where questions are concerned. They can fill in any gaps if the patient is unable to do so.

Staying Active With Exercise

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The majority of survey respondents living with PD use exercise as part of their treatment. Among types of exercise, walking is the most common.

  • 66 percent use exercise to stay active
  • 60 percent walk for exercise

Other common ways respondents stay active include:

Watching television and playing games can also help serve as a distraction from pain or other Parkinsons symptoms.

  • 22 percent binge a favorite TV show
  • 11 percent use retail therapy or shopping
  • 5 percent blog or write online

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How To Cope With Parkinsons As A Caregiver

Research from the National Alliance for Caregiving shows that when caregivers are asked what they want, the majority respond saying they want information about coping with being a caregiver. This information takes several forms, including knowledge about Parkinsons disease , comfort with the caregiving role and managing stress.

The following tips can help you cope:

  • Forgive yourself for not being perfect. From the day your loved one was diagnosed your world has been turned upside down. Your daily routine will change, as may your personal standards of housekeeping and other tasks. Accept your own humanity.
  • Acknowledge your right to feel emotionally off-balance. Recognize the hidden grief component of your anger, anxiety, guilt and depression. Expect adaptation to, but not resolution of, your grief. Accept it and seek out someone who understands it.
  • Determine your limits. What is your comfort level providing care? Some caregivers feel they can provide care at home as long as others in the family can put up with the disruptions.
  • Be kind to yourself. Remember you are experiencing normal reactions to abnormal circumstances.
  • Seek out joy in your relationship with your loved one. Your hands-on duties, such as dressing your loved one, might feel like work, but these tasks bring you together. Add some fun to your hands-on care: sing songs, tell jokes, share goals and dreams.

Read Also: What Disease Is Similar To Parkinsons

How To Address Symptoms

Although there is no cure for Parkinsons disease, there are many treatments including medications that can help reduce symptoms and slow disease progression. Patients with depression and/or anxiety will need additional treatment strategies.

Treatment usually depends on how severe symptoms are and each patients goals, Dr. Rush says. For mild symptoms, we usually start pretty conservatively with just recommendations to improve behavior and possibly some lifestyle changes.

Try to stay as active as you can, and take steps to minimize stress in your life as much as possible. Learning techniques to help you relax is also often helpful. Try to pace yourself and shift your focus to things that you can control.

When symptoms are moderate to severe, we usually use psychotropic medications in combination, which help balance out the chemical changes in the brain. We also look at how patients thoughts affect their emotions and actions, and we offer suggestions to help address them.

Read Also: Is Parkinson’s A Type Of Dementia

Use Assistive Devices For Self

Over time, Parkinsons can make your self-care tasks difficult and so you should get ready for that.

For example, your body will be stiffed in the morning and therefore getting started your day will be slower than normal. Performing tasks like taking a shower, getting dressed, and taking shoes on, will take more time than usual.

Hand tremor is another problem that you will experience time to time. It is especially problematic in eating food. Similarly, Parkinsons can also affect the way you walk. Your walk will be slower than normal and sometimes stepping forward can be hard.

Using assistive devices can help you to perform these self-care tasks easily. There are many products available on the market that are specially designed for Parkinsons patients. Some of the most effective products that you may need include tremor spoon, weighted utensils, and walking stick.

Disclaimer: The information shared here should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions presented here are not intended to treat any health conditions. For your specific medical problem, consult with your health care provider.

Exercise And Healthy Eating

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Regular exercise is particularly important in helping relieve muscle stiffness, improving your mood and relieving stress.

There are many activities you can do to help keep yourself fit, ranging from more active sports like tennis and cycling, to less strenuous activities such as walking, gardening and yoga.

You should also try to eat a balanced diet containing all the food groups to give your body the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.

Read Also: What Happens To Your Body When You Have Parkinson’s Disease

Tips For Coping With Parkinsons Disease Symptoms

Parkinson’s disease symptoms can be challenging to live with at first. Here are some tips to help you cope:

Take it one day at a time

It’s best to tackle Parkinson’s disease one day at a time. Although making plans for the future is a good idea as the disease progresses, there is no use worrying endlessly about the long-term effects of PD. All you have now are your current symptoms, and you can only deal with what’s in front of you.

Keep a symptoms diary

Record any emotional and physical symptoms so you can give your doctor an accurate picture of your condition. Write down physical symptoms such as tremor, slowed movement or rigidity, as well as mental health changes like depression, anxiety or hallucinations. If you experience problems with memory or concentration, ask a trusted caregiver or loved one to jot things down.

Ask questions

Be an active participant in your healthcare. Write down any questions you want to ask your doctor between visits, and don’t be afraid to ask for alternative medications or treatment if you don’t think your current plan is working for you.

Practice acceptance

If you have just been told you have Parkinson’s disease, you may find it difficult to come to terms with the diagnosis. Over time, however, you may find it helpful to work through any feelings of anger and resentment and practice acceptance. Exercises like meditation and mindfulness can relieve stress while seeing a therapist can help you work through your feelings.

What Are The Stages To Coping With My Condition

Parkinsons disease causes recurring bouts of grief. Your life will change and you will no longer be able to continue all your activities.

These are the stages most individuals go through before accepting their diagnosis and developing new life skills. A psychologist specializing in neurodegenerative diseases can help you go through these stages more easily.

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Patient And Public Involvement Statement

This research was done without patient involvement. Patients were not invited to comment on the study design and were not consulted to develop patient relevant outcomes or interpret the results. Patients were not invited to contribute to the writing or editing of this document for readability or accuracy.

Commit To The Right Lifestyle


If you commit to lifestyle changes, your doctors treatment advice, and the support of family and friends, you give yourself the best chances of seeing improvement in your day-to-day life.

Dr. Rush advises patients: Take the tools you have and make them work for you.

The patients who often do well are those who come in for treatment consistently, because theyre utilizing resources to their advantage, Dr. Rush says. It isnt a matter of learning how to get rid of these symptoms, but the goal is to make the symptoms milder and less intrusive so they can still have a good quality of life.

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What To Avoid As A Caregiver For Parkinsons Disease

These are some things to avoid while caring for someone with Parkinsons disease:

  • Avoid changing their day-to-day schedule: Stick to a daily routine as far as possible, so the person knows what to expect at each time of day. They may struggle to cope with changes to their routine.
  • Avoid distracting stimuli: Try to keep the persons environment free of distractions, such as loud noises or brightly-patterned decor, as it can be confusing and disorienting.
  • Avoid changing their environment: Try not to make any changes to the persons surroundings, such as changes to the layout of the house. Keeping it the same can help prevent falls caused by disorientation.
  • Avoid confusing them: When you communicate with the person, use simple sentences and ask only yes or no questions. Avoid interrupting them or finishing their sentences. Though it may take them time to complete a sentence, interjecting in between can confuse and frustrate them.
  • Avoid losing your patience with them: Parkinsons disease can cause the person to speak and move slowly. Be patient with them and try to match their pace to make them more comfortable.
  • Avoid shouting at them: There may be times when you get angry or frustrated with your loved one. However, try to refrain from shouting at them or speaking to them sharply. The dementia that may accompany Parkinsons disease can cause them to respond aggressively. Stay calm and be still while you talk to them.

Challenges You As A Caregiver Are Likely To Face

There are challenges that a person with Parkinsons disease confronts. First, the disease can vary from day to day. There will be times when they can function almost normally and then other times when they will be very dependent. This is a natural part of the disease. But it can make a caregiver feel that the person is being unnecessarily demanding or manipulative. Keep in mind that Parkinsons is unpredictable and each day can pose new challenges for you and your loved one.

Also, keep in mind that Parkinsons is a progressive disorder. While medications and surgery can provide significant relief of symptoms, they do not stop the progression of the disease.

Depression is also very much a part of the disease. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression so you can help your loved one seek treatment promptly. And, if you are feeling depressed and having trouble coping, its just as important to get care for yourself.

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Maintain Your Social Network

Maintaining an active social life is essential. Keep in touch with family and friends by talking to them on the phone, visiting them or communicating by email.

Isolating yourself for long periods of time can slow down the acceptance process and contribute to the development of depression and anxiety.

Even if you dont necessarily feel like it, try to get in touch with others instead of waiting for them to make the first step. It is necessary for you to have a social network. If you feel depressed or anxious, talk to your doctor.

Keep doing what you love, find a new hobby or consider volunteering. Social involvement and a sense of purpose are factors that seem to contribute most to slowing the disease progression.

Off Periods And Medication Effects

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One of the complications of PD is that medication effects can wear off throughout the day, leading to a re-emergence of PD symptoms, often described as off periods.

The key to managing the off periods often lies in timing. Many people who have PD can observe trends in physical function throughout the day. You can keep track of your symptomatic changes throughout the day with a diary, and work with your healthcare provider to adjust your medication schedule for optimal function during the times when you need it most.

The medications that are used to treat PD can produce physical side effects as well. You might begin to experience writhing movements and other involuntary movements that are often described as dyskinesias. Often, medication adjustments can help reduce dyskinesias.

Many people who have PD find that getting regular exercise can help in regaining some physical control. Exercises such as dancing, , swimming, and other challenging skill-based physical activity can help build better motor controleven if you start in your 70s or later.

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Complex Parkinsons Disease And Palliative Care

Complex Parkinsons disease is defined as the stage when treatment is unable to consistently control symptoms, or the person has developed uncontrollable jerky movements .

These problems can still be helped by adjustment or addition of some of the medications used to treat Parkinsons disease, under the supervision of a doctor with a specialist interest in Parkinsons disease.

As Parkinsons disease progresses, youll be invited to discuss the care you want with your healthcare team as you near the end of your life. This is known as palliative care.

When theres no cure for an illness, palliative care tries to alleviate symptoms, and is also aimed at making the end of a persons life as comfortable as possible.

This is done by attempting to relieve pain and other distressing symptoms, while providing psychological, social and spiritual support for you and your family.

Palliative care can be provided at home or in a hospice, residential home or hospital.

You may want to consider talking to your family and care team in advance about where youd like to be treated and what care you wish to receive.

Study Research And Learn

As a caregiver, you must educate yourself and understand what Parkinsons Disease is, and understand its symptoms. Having basic background knowledge will provide you with the foundational knowledge to provide the necessary care. A quick internet search will provide credible sites and scientific literature on PD.

The first step for learning to cope with caregiving roles is to know just exactly what you are in for. Not only will this help you be more compassionate and empathetic towards your loved ones struggle, but it also comes in handy when it comes to balancing your schedule, making time for their appointments, taking note of their medications, and setting aside the needed time to do whatever they need help with.

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Parkinsons Symptoms And Stress

Although tremor in particular tends to worsen when a person is anxious or under stress, all the symptoms of PD, including slowness, stiffness, and balance problems, can worsen. Symptoms, particularly tremor, can become less responsive to medication. The solution in these situations is not to increase medication but to find ways of reducing stress. Read on for tips on how to do that.

Try To Be Socially Active

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Many people with Parkinsons restrict themselves from being socially active. This is a completely wrong approach. You dont have to do this. In fact, you need to be more social.

Research has shown that social interaction helps patients to boost their feelings of well-being and decrease feelings of depression.

Therefore, keep yourself busy and participate in gatherings with family and friends as much as you can. The more you engage yourself socially, the more you will feel normal.

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