Donna Veilleux

Member for

2 years 7 months

Dad and I began our care journey closer to the beginning of his Parkinson diagnosis when I was so naive to believe all that was involved were shaky hands. It sounded tolerable until I began to observe the difficulty he had eating, drinking, shaving, cooking, driving and the loss of creative abilities that enriched his being such as building ships from the ground up.

It may sound corny, but to understand and learn, I made myself do those daily activities like I had tremors, rigidity, freezing and slowness. This was eye opening for me because not only was dads speed of movement being challenged, but my speed as a caregiver had to adapt with him. Walking, running, turning, bending, standing and so much more were affected.

DonnaI had to put myself in my dad’s shoes if I were to come remotely close to his experience with Parkinson’s. I used dad’s cane and was laughingly clumsy. I used his walker to navigate in his surroundings which went well enough until I encountered small doorways and step downs –those were my nemesis and his. And the wheelchair.... forget it! I think I pulled more caregiver muscles than I realized I had!

I had so much to learn about these more talked about motor symptoms, but boy did I have an eye opening journey with the least talked about – the non-motor symptoms.

I did my best to admit my physical, mental, emotional and spiritual foibles to dad so he knew he wasn’t alone. A father/daughter care team comes with its own set of challenges. I used humor as much as I could. Often at my expense, but I was okay embracing more humility.

I can say so much more, but my father was tenacious, brave, determined, graceful and honorable to the very end. He taught me tenacity, bravery, determination, gracefulness (even when I made mistakes in care), to respect his capabilities, wishes and dreams, and to support his decisions on how he wanted this stage of his life to play out. My father deserved to have that control. I, his caregiver-daughter, became that advocate to see that he kept it.

Miss you, dad,

The Parkinson’s Foundation is here for caregivers. Check out our resources tailored for people caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease.


Sign Up for Our E-Newsletter

Get the latest news about PD research, resources and community initiatives – straight to your inbox.

Please enter a valid email

Skip step

Invalid year format. Eg: 2020
Skip step
Zip code is required for chapter communications
Skip step

*Please note that not all content is available in both languages. If you are interested in receiving Spanish communications, we recommend selecting “both" to stay best informed on the Foundation's work and the latest in PD news.

Skip step

Thanks for Signing Up

We are proud to have you as a part of our community. To ensure you receive the latest Parkinson’s news, research updates and more, please check your email for a message from us. If you do not see our email, it may be in your spam folder. Just mark as “not spam” and you should receive our emails as expected.

mail icon

Subscribe here to get the latest news on treatments, research and other updates.