Parkinson’s Disease is a debilitating illness that can affect individuals in different ways. Here are some tips from expert Joon Faii Ong for family members of Parkinson’s Disease patients to help them cope with the illness:
1) Be understanding and patient
Parkinson’s Disease can be a frustrating illness for both the patient and the family members. Therefore, it is important to be understanding and patient with the patient and to try not to force him to do things he can no longer do.
Don’t get offended easily if the patient shows symptoms of depression, apathy, or irritation. Remember that Parkinson’s patients “tend to whine more,” and they cannot help it because of their physical condition.
Encourage the patient to continue with hobbies and other activities which give him pleasure and make him happy. This can help to improve his mood and outlook on life.
2) Be a support system for the patient
The family members are often the main support system for Parkinson’s patients. Helping out with household chores, providing transport, and just being there for moral support can be very helpful for the patient.
3) Learn about Parkinson’s Disease
To be a support system, the family members must know what the patient is going through. Learning about Parkinson’s disease will help them understand their loved one better and give them ideas on how to help him cope with the illness. The caregiver manual “Facing Parkinson’s” contains many valuable tips and information for family members and caregivers of Parkinson’s patients.
4) Be prepared for the future
As Parkinson’s Disease progresses, the patient will require more care and assistance. Therefore, the family members must be prepared to take on more responsibility as the disease advances.
Coping with a loved one who has Parkinson’s Disease can be difficult, but with these tips, family members can better support their loved one and make his life easier.
5) Have a support system of your own
Don’t forget that you need a support system of your own to help you cope with your role as a caregiver. Don’t feel guilty about taking time out for yourself and doing things you enjoy.
As the disease progresses, the patient’s symptoms will make it more difficult for him to do many everyday tasks such as driving or holding a conversation. As a result, the family members must be prepared to take on more responsibility and provide help and support to the patient.
6) Have a backup plan
You must always have a backup plan in place to take over your role as a caregiver when you need to leave. It is important to discuss this with other members of the family or friends well in advance. The patient’s medical insurance provider should also be informed early on about the diagnosis to make arrangements for financial support.
7) Communicate with the patient
Communication is one of the most important aspects of being an effective caregiver. Make sure that you are constantly communicating with your loved one, especially if he has difficulty communicating due to his illness. Ask him how he feels and whether you can do anything to make things easier for him. Keep a list of questions that you need to ask on a regular basis and refer to the list when necessary.
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