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Parkinson's Disease Health Center

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Coping Tips for Caregivers of Those With Parkinson's Disease

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Challenges You as a Caregiver Are Likely to Face

There are challenges that a person with Parkinson's disease confronts. First, the disease can vary from day to day. There will be times when he or she can function almost normally and then other times when he or she 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 Parkinson's is unpredictable and each day can pose new challenges for you and your loved one.

Also, keep in mind that Parkinson's 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, it's just as important to get care for yourself.

Communicating With Your Loved One

Parkinson's disease can make verbal communication very difficult for your loved one. That can get in the way of your ability to care for his or her needs. Here are some ways that can help you better understand your loved one.

  • Talk to your loved one face-to-face. Look at him or her as he or she is speaking.
  • In the case of advanced disease, ask questions that your loved one can answer "yes" or "no."
  • Repeat the part of the sentence that you understood. (For example, "You want me to go upstairs and get the what?")
  • Ask your loved one to repeat what he or she has said, or ask him or her to speak slower or spell out the words that you did not understand.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on September 23, 2014
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