30 Days of Caregiver Tips

  1. Create a comprehensive Parkinson’s care team with help from your doctor.  Improving the physical and mental health of a person with Parkinson’s relieves caregiver strain.
  2. Ask for help. Try to arrange for someone to provide respite care a few days a week and rely on community resources.
  3. Involve relatives in financial and social support when possible.
  4. Learn how to provide proper care by talking to a healthcare professional..
  5. Stay informed. Read as much information as you can. Visit our website, www.parkinson.org for the latest updates on research and treatment.
  6. Get involved. Interact with the Parkinson’s community and share with others in our online forum at www.parkinson.org/forums.
  7. Try to follow the daily schedule of the person with Parkinson’s as closely as possible to minimize disruption.
  8. Keep a caregiver log. Track your care recipient’s needs and your responsibilities. Note any health changes or concerns.
  9. Go easy on yourself. No one is perfect. Recognize you are doing the best you can.
  10. Seek support from a local NPF chapter. Attend wellness classes, take advantage of educational resources and join a support group: www.parkinson.org/search.
  11. Give yourself a break. Take regular breaks from caregiving and take some extended “you” time at least once a week.
  12. Care for yourself. You are better able to care for someone else when you are at your best – both emotionally and physically.
  13. Start a personal journal. Keep track of your own moods, thoughts and feelings. Acknowledge and accept your emotions.
  14. Be prepared. Talk with the care recipient several days in advance to figure out routines, limitations, what will be expected of you.
  15. Set aside some relaxation time on a daily basis and learn what helps you to de-stress if you start to feel overwhelmed.
  16. Be aware of any medication schedules and adhere to them strictly, in consultation with a medical professional.
  17. Keep handy a list of essential phone numbers (such as doctors, pharmacists, respite providers, family members, other members of the care team, etc.) .
  18. If you live apart from your care recipient, plan your visits during times that aren’t too busy (try to avoid regular exercise times or medical appointments).
  19. Be patient with one another. A person with Parkinson’s may face physical and mental limitations that are unfamiliar or confusing.
  20. Be honest. If you are uncomfortable or unsure, speak up and talk it through. Communication is key.
  21. If this is your first time acting as a caregiver, trust each other and work out next steps together.
  22. Determine your limits. Know your comfort level with providing care at home.
  23. Stay positive. Seek out joy in your relationship with your care recipient. Add fun to the routine by singing, sharing hopes or planning a fun activity together.
  24. Be aware of your care recipient’s wishes by asking for his/her input.
  25. Maintain balance. Try not to give up activities that are important to you, such as your work or hobbies.
  26. Acknowledge your right to feel emotionally off-balance.
  27. Hang on to your sense of self. Think about your future beyond caregiving. Don’t lose sight of goals you want to achieve.
  28. Don’t be timid about sharing your journey. Your experiences may be a great way to inspire others.
  29. Understand your purpose as a caregiver. Take time to step back and reflect on the dynamic between you and your care recipient.
  30. Call the Helpline Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5pm EST at 1-800-473-4636.

 

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