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How to Support and Care for a Loved One With Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s is one of the most difficult progressive diseases to deal with for both the people suffering through it and their support networks. Parkinson’s treatment can be medication-based, physical therapy-based, surgery-based or have a combination of these and other methods.

The complicated treatment process and the toll it takes on the patient are why family and friends who are there to offer support need to be super careful about how they do it. It’s not enough to show up on the day of a major surgery; supporting a person with Parkinson’s takes a lot more.

A woman helps a Parkinson’s patient stretch out their hand.

Understand Your Role and the Disease

One of the first steps to taking care of someone with Parkinson’s is to do your research on the disease. It shouldn’t be the patient’s job to educate and correct you about the condition that can take a mental toll.

There are plenty of resources online, such as the Parkinson’s Foundation, which has tons of blogs and articles discussing the different aspects of Parkinson’s. You should be able to find all the information you need.

It would be best if you also understood what your role in the situation is. If you’re not next of kin, you may not want to overstep boundaries. In any case like this, there’s usually a primary caregiver, and if that person isn’t you, you should make sure you’re helping the caregiver instead of creating more work for them.

Center The Patient

As a caregiver in any role, the main job is to make sure the patient feels as comfortable as they can. You should be able to listen actively and understand what the other person is telling you about their experience of the disease instead of pushing your point of view.

For example, if a Parkinson’s patient elects to have surgery with their doctor’s approval, then it’s not your call to intervene and disagree. Instead, if the patient feels it’s necessary, it is your job to prepare the patient and help get to where they need to be.

A male physical therapist reassuringly talks to an older woman with Parkinson’s

Don’t Forget About Mental Health

One aspect of having a chronic, progressive disease that many caregivers forget is mental health. Mental health can often deteriorate as people face symptoms that lower their quality of life and increases dependency on others.

For independent-minded people, the disability and dependency that comes with this disease can be debilitating for mental health to the point where they may need therapy to function and address bad mental health symptoms.

The best way to support your loved ones is to give them the best chance to treat this incurable disease’s symptoms and live with it. At Houston Physician’s Hospital, we have a treatment plan ready for people living with Parkinson’s that we tailor based on your individual needs.

We provide treatment for joint pain, physical therapy services, spine specialists, and more, we’re among the most diverse medical service providers and hospitals in Houston, TX. If you have Parkinson’s or know someone who needs treatment, you can find a doctor at our website and make your appointment with their office directly.