How to Help Someone Cope With Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects victims' motor skills. In addition to physical changes, those who have Parkinson's experience emotional changes, as well. Dealing with the challenges of Parkinson's disease requires much support from family and friends. As a friend or loved one, it's important to learn how to help someone with Parkinson's disease cope in the most effective way possible.


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    Learn all that you can about Parkinson's, its symptoms and how it progresses. This knowledge will give you insight on how your friend or loved one must be feeling and what kind of changes to expect when dealing with Parkinson's disease.
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    Offer to take your friend or loved one to her doctor's appointments and keep track of those appointments and medication schedules if necessary.
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    Encourage the person dealing with Parkinson's to exercise. Physical activity has many benefits including strengthening the heart, relieving stress, and helping people become more flexible and building endurance.
    • Get the approval of a doctor first. The doctor or a physical therapist may help you come up with suitable activities such as yoga, stretching and lifting weights to help the patient strengthen his shoulders and improve his posture.
    • Join a person with Parkinson's disease on walks. However, don't think of a walk with a Parkinson's sufferer as a social activity. Your friend may find it difficult to focus on putting one foot in front of the other.
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    Work with your loved one's occupational and physical therapists. People with Parkinson's may need special training and assistance to complete everyday chores as their disease progresses.
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    Your loved one may find it difficult to do certain things such as opening a box of cereal or getting dressed. Modifications such as putting cereal in a pour-out container or using a dressing stick can help make life easier.
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    Help your friend or loved one find a nutritionist that can form a diet plan to keep her body functioning at optimum levels. Go grocery shopping and stock up on healthy foods. Encourage your friend to drink lots of water.
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    Remove rugs or other objects that may become accident hazards. Install rails along stairs inside your friend's home so he can move around safely.
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    Give a person with Parkinson's a back massage to relieve tired muscles.
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    Find a local support group and offer to take your friend or loved one to meetings. Support groups are a great way for people with Parkinson's disease to cope and figure out how to deal with common issues.
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    Let a person with Parkinson's disease continue to do as much as she/he can independently. Your first instinct may be to take over, but this may rid her/him of their self-esteem. Be patient and allow enough time her/him to accomplish activities she/he has the ability to complete.
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    Recognize the symptoms of depression, which is common in people who have Parkinson's disease. If the person does not realize he may have depression, seek help on his behalf.
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    Listen patiently as it may take someone with Parkinson's disease much effort to talk. Ask about what activities are important to her, and what type of symptoms she is experiencing.
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    Ask for additional help or find a long-term care facility for your loved one when the need arises. This will vary for each person but the decision must be made if your loved one is no longer safe by themselves as the disease progresses.

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Categories: Neurological Disorders