Leaving your loved one in someone else’s care is not easy. But if you hire the right caregiver and familiarize them with your loved one’s particular needs, it can be an invaluable help.
It is important for the people or agency you hire to understand the condition so they can understand and better relate to your loved one. Even seasoned professionals might not know about Parkinson’s disease. You can refer people working in your home to the Parkinson’s Disease Overview to learn about PD and to the videos in the Home Care section of this site for information and tips on caring for someone with advanced PD in particular.
Getting to Know the Person with Parkinson’s
Once they know about the disease, caregivers need to get to know the person. To provide the best possible care for the person with Parkinson’s, it is helpful for the caregivers to understand your loved one’s history, personality and preferences as well as the family situation. Explain or provide a written document with insights on your loved one’s childhood, occupation, family stories, favorite hobbies, likes, dislikes and daily routines. Include information on relatives or friends who are involved in caring for the person with Parkinson’s.
Make a Care Plan
With this understanding in place, you, the person with Parkinson’s, and the caregivers should collaborate to develop a care plan and checklist. It is important to identify and discuss the care and support needs of the person with Parkinson’s. These needs, and the steps that will be taken to address them, should be written down in a manner that is easily understood by all who are providing daily care and assistance. This document (referred to as a care plan) can help ensure that all necessary steps are taken to provide the best possible care on an ongoing basis.
Keep in Touch
Communication is key to better care, so make sure to check in regularly with the caregivers, particularly as your loved one’s needs change over time. The plan will need to be updated to reflect the progression of Parkinson’s disease, so this is a good time to evaluate the caregiver relationship. Voice any concerns about the quality of care being provided. Stay calm and respectful during the conversation, but follow up to make sure that problems are addressed.
Know the Roles
Paid caregivers are hired to keep the person with Parkinson’s safe and look after his or her well-being. Caregiver and care recipient might form a bond over time, but it is important that paid caregivers maintain professional boundaries. They should not become involved in familial or financial conversations and decision-making. While your role as a family caregiver is emotional and complex, remember that no matter how nice the caregiver is or how much s/he likes you or your loved one, it is a job.
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