5 Important Tips for a Parkinson’s Caregiver

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A great deal of older individuals with Parkinson’s disease are provided with the majority of their care at home from loved ones, especially during the early levels of the disease. As Parkinson’s caregivers ourselves, we at San Diego Home Caregivers understand the unique concerns experienced by family members who play the role of a Parkinson’s caregiver, and want you to know you are not alone! Our San Diego home health experts are always here to offer tips and to work with you in making certain your loved one is receiving the best care at all times.

To start, it’s helpful to keep these Parkinson’s-specific tips in mind:

  • Nutrition: A healthy diet helps lessen cell loss in a person with Parkinson’s. Consuming antioxidants, such as those found in blueberries, green tea, spinach, beans, broccoli, and some types of nuts, can help fend off oxidative stress.
  • Chewing and Swallowing: Individuals with Parkinson’s commonly have some level of difficulty with chewing and swallowing. Each person providing care for a loved one with Parkinson’s needs to learn the Heimlich maneuver to be prepared in case the person begins to choke.
  • Fall Prevention: Seniors with Parkinson’s commonly have difficulty with balance and walking, so it’s very important to assess the home surroundings and make alterations to lower the risk of falls. Installing items like customized toilet seats and grab bars where appropriate, and removing obstacles in and around the home is a good place to start.
  • Anxiety/Depression: Minimizing the risk for depression and anxiety is a key component in the battle against Parkinson’s. Keep a close eye on your loved one for indications of depression, and if detected, be sure he or she sees the doctor for assistance as soon as possible.
  • Medications: Parkinson’s treatments may have a wide range of side effects, and can impact the individual in a number of different ways. Some kinds of medicine can cause hallucinations or nightmares, for example. Make sure your loved one’s doctor advises you about any anticipated side effects of medications so you can be prepared.

We invite you to explore our San Diego Home Caregivers’ care services to understand how home care can lead to a better quality of life for both your loved one and the family members who are providing care. By working with our professional La Jolla home care assistance team to help with some of the more routine aspects of caregiving, family members have the chance to spend more quality time together. Contact us online or call us at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about how our care team can help improve quality of life for you and your family. To find out more about the different areas we serve throughout San Diego County, please visit our Communities Served page.

Key Facts About the Five Parkinson’s Disease Stages

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More widespread in men, and more frequently diagnosed than muscular dystrophy, ALS and MS combined, Parkinson’s disease is clinically diagnosed in up to 7 – 10 million individuals throughout the world, with an additional 600,000 U.S. citizens diagnosed every year. And even while each person’s encounter with Parkinson’s may differ in level of severity, there are five main stages of development that are normally experienced by all.

In honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, San Diego Home Caregivers provides the details below to help you better understand the stages of Parkinson’s disease:

  • 1st Stage: Described as early-stage Parkinson’s, this phase impacts the individual with mild signs or symptoms that could present as follows:
    • Evident on just one side of the body
    • Effects are problematic, but not disabling
    • Tremors or uncontrollable shaking in one limb may be apparent
    • Family members can often pick up on deviations in the individual’s balance, facial expressions, and posture
  • 2nd Stage: In the second stage of Parkinson’s, the individual begins to present an inability to complete common physical tasks:
    • Symptoms now have an impact on both sides of the body
    • The person is experiencing minimal disability, but in most cases ambulatory or balance problems are observed
    • Posture begins to be affected
  • 3rd Stage: This phase is regarded as moderate Parkinson’s disease, and a more significant level of disability will begin to become obvious:
    • There is a recognizable slowing down of the body’s movements
    • Equilibrium deterioration may lead to the inability to stand or walk straight
    • There is a moderately significant overall dysfunction
  • 4th Stage: This stage is indicative of advanced Parkinson’s and involves significant effects:
    • Stiffness and bradykinesia, or slow movements, are now at play
    • The individual can no longer complete daily tasks and commonly is unable to live independently
    • Trembling may begin to lessen or go away altogether for unknown reasons during this stage
  • 5th Stage: This final stage of the disease generally takes over the person’s physical movements:
    • The person usually encounters a general decline in vitality and strength in both body and mind
    • The individual may potentially now be no longer able to walk or stand
    • One-on-one care is needed

The team at San Diego Home Caregivers are not only experts in providing the highest quality in home care in La Jolla and surrounding areas but are also fully trained and skilled in all facets of home care, and can assist those with Parkinson’s disease and other conditions of aging to experience a higher quality of life, right in the security of home. Whether the need is for help with daily personal care, accompanied transportation to doctors’ appointments, running errands, light housework and meal preparation, or merely a friendly companion to brighten up each day, each of our care plans is individualized to each person’s unique needs and choices. Contact us online or call us any time at (619) 487-9000 to discover how our care services can help your family. To learn more about all of the areas we serve in San Diego County, please visit our Communities Served page.