There are many symptoms of Parkinson’s including stiffness, tremors, slow movement, loss of balance, involuntary movement, coordination problems, sleep disturbances including daytime sleepiness, fatigue, restlessness, dizziness, amnesia or dementia, speech difficulty and apathy or anxiety among others. Parkinson’s home care should be truly holistic. The caregiver must understand the distinctly different symptoms and the kind of responses that are necessary to attend to them from time to time. Naturally, there is more than one kind of Parkinson’s home care. Families must explore all available options and then choose the most relevant approach.
Families may appoint a nurse for Parkinson’s home care. A registered nurse would not only be able to provide the assistance necessary but also provide medical care. A personal attendant or independent caregiver who is not trained in nursing may not be able to provide the required medical care. Ensuring timely medication and other simple medical care is possible but not any serious intervention. It is likely some people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s will have emergency situations when certain symptoms may worsen, and a nurse would be better poised to take a call in such circumstances.
Families may consider Parkinson’s home care agencies or registries that have a diverse team of caregivers. It is possible to choose a caregiver who is completely familiar with the various symptoms and hence the needs of a patient. It is not just the common symptoms that should be attended to, but relatively uncommon problems must also be addressed. For instance, people diagnosed with Parkinson’s may be depressed, they may have difficulty swallowing, a fear of falling or tightness in the neck, trembling, writing or drooling. A caregiver should be prepared to manage such situations.
Many patients with Parkinson’s are recommended to take part in physical therapy. This is mostly aimed at helping ease the rigidness in muscles and to enable a greater range of motion. It is not just moving from one place to another that is impaired to an extent but also normal bodily movements while being stationary. A caregiver should be familiar with the physical therapies that may be recommended.
Parkinson’s home care may also have to include occupational therapy and speech therapy. The care plan should include assistance with normal chores and usual household tasks. The caregiver may also have to be a personal attendant and get most of the normal things done for the patient such as feeding, bathing, driving and problem solving.