Caring for Yourself
Caring for yourself when caring for someone with Parkinson’s
The nature of caregiving can create considerable stress or burdens. If you are caring for someone with Parkinson's disease (PD), you know all too well the influence it can have on your own physical, psychological, social, financial, and emotional stress.
Think and act positive
Parkinson's can change the landscape of the entire family—in both negative and positive ways. When someone in the family has Parkinson's, this major change can influence behavior, emotions, and connectivity of all family members. In one study, adults caring for parents with PD described how they valued more about life because of their role caring for a loved one and how they found that the focus and responsibility helped them maintain a positive outlook. Some participants in the same study even noticed improved relationships with their spouse or partner, or their siblings, which they attributed to their parent's illness. Obviously, no two situations are the same, but try to take comfort in the fact that you are doing so much for someone you love.
As you care for your loved one with PD, you may find yourself performing tasks that offer emotional, physical, financial, household, decision-making, and social support. Juggling these tasks along with the duties of your own life can be complicated. Staying organized and structured in approaching tasks may help keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
Make time for yourself
Do what you can to get the rest, nutrition, and exercise you need to remain as healthy and happy as possible. Support from other family members, if available, can prove to be a vital part of your personal coping strategy. Sharing the responsibilities of care, or simply having someone else there, can be an effective resource.
If you find yourself stressed by the added responsibilities of caregiving, you may want to try some of these stress reduction techniques suggested for people with Parkinson's disease.