Caregivers - How to See Your Changing Role


"Notes from Movers & Shakers with Parkinson”: How You See Your Changing Roles

Copied from The Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation Weekly News Update

Cathy Whitlock

NPF - Does your spouse ever get on your nerves? Can you tell when you get on theirs? Is it possible to preserve a loving and open relationship between caregivers and their charges with Parkinson Disease, considering the difficulties involved in dealing day-to-day with a slowly-progressive disease? In doing research for the book “Notes from Movers & Shakers With Parkinson”, we observed that while there was helpful information available focused on physical and logistical problems, there was little discussion in Parkinson Disease (PD) forums about the effect that changing roles has on the relationship between spouse and patient, from their own perspectives.

Those caregivers (who represent a clear majority) who are partners with the PDers in their care will see their relationships change. This should be no surprise, since the change in roles is often dramatic. The result is often very difficult to cope with. How can we keep communications open and stress levels manageable?

I was diagnosed with PD more than 10 years ago. My first reaction was to get home to my husband, Dale. We began dating in college and our relationship had endured over the years, and it was natural to turn to him first with this life-changing news. Although we were frightened by the prospect of what a future with Parkinson would mean, we tried to be optimistic. And, after some trial and error, medication seemed to control most of the symptoms. We talked about our fears, our priorities, and made some plans, including a short “bucket list”. Since I was not able to function at the high levels of stress that were part and parcel of my job in a major financial institution, I left the corporate world and worked on special projects, mostly editing, including my husband’s books – he’s an author.

Physical changes occurred slowly; I fell a couple of times while jogging, slipped on the ice and broke my nose; I realized that I had lost depth perception. This made navigating stairs, curbs, etc., very tricky. My husband became a human GPS, as we walked along –“Watch the curb on the right”, “There’s a step-down right here”, “Hold on to the railing”. He continued to be helpful around the house.

Two other pertinent factors to consider: I participate in a rigorous exercise program, which I believe has been instrumental in slowing the progress of the disease. And, I am taking medication that can influence behavior. It’s important to remember that Parkinson’s is described in some places, as a movement and behavior disorder. Although I do not exhibit blatantly compulsive behavior, I notice that there are some activities that I cannot leave until completed. I joke about having “OCD” (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). And I am much more easily distracted; periodically I seem to have lost the single-mindedness of purpose that I used to have.

All of this brings us to the effect PD is having on my relationship with my spouse/caregiver. As Dale began to understand where the shortcomings were in my daily routine, i.e., difficulty getting most things done on time, moving from one project to another without completing either… he developed ways to keep me on time. (Reminders an hour and half-hour before we’re to depart, staying “on my case” when he sees me leave the laundry without filling the washing machine to do something else). At first I took umbrage at his “telling me what to do” and acting like a parent. And he took umbrage at my “not taking his help and continuing to be disorganized, late, etc.” We were both angry at each other’s stubborn stance. Each of us saw the other as insensitive and unappreciative. Once anger set in, there was a real potential for a downward spiral.

That famous line from the movie “Hud”, “What we got here is a failure to communicate”, is at the base of this problem. We needed to sit and talk and realize that each of us needed to know that the other was in fact doing his or her best to resolve issues, and that they were not trying to exert control over the other. And, it may be difficult to understand that what seems like an easy thing to do, like “pay attention”, takes much more effort and concentration than it used to. And, that we might have to adjust our behavior, and to give up some of that “control” in order to enhance the day-to-day functionality of our lives.

As Dale pointed out, there is also a real need for both of us to “let go” of some things. It may not be appropriate for us to try to be in charge of all that was in our span of control. It may be time to reprioritize, or to stop doing certain things! And closely related to “letting go”, is accepting what is the new reality. The only way that we can move forward with a fresh outlook, is to assess these issues and determine what we can let go of, and what our new reality is.

We are determined to continue to communicate with each other about these sensitivities. I am convinced that if we can stay in touch with each other’s feelings and needs, not only will it help our daily lives, it will enable us to stay as healthy and as happy as we possibly can. We’ll be able to get past coping, and move forward to enjoy life.
Chris Ludwig, worked in a variety of capacities, before writing “Notes from Movers & Shakers with Parkinson”; she was a tax-preparer, a TV “Weather Girl”, and before retirement, a Vice President of technology for a major financial institution. She was diagnosed with PD more than 10 years ago. She’s an avid exercise practitioner, a novice tap-dancer, and believes strongly that “Exercise is medicine!” Chris now lives and shakes in Florida and Cape Cod with her husband Dale, where she continues to appreciate every day with joy and enthusiasm.

For more information or to order “Notes from Movers and Shakers with Parkinson,” please visit .



Caregivers - Charting Your Course



Charting Your CourseCopied from The Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation Weekly News Update

Kristine Dwyer

Today's Caregiver - Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease at home can be like sailing a ship through uncharted waters. Currents, wind shifts and changing weather patterns all influence the ship’s course on a daily basis. The effects of Parkinson’s disease also present an unpredictable course and caregivers must continually seek solutions and a positive direction for the care they provide.

Barbara has been caring for her husband for over 10 years. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and she has remained steadfast with his care at home. Through the years, she has been creative in developing practical ideas that save time, require less energy and reduce stress. Most importantly, employment of these concepts has enabled her to maintain the independence and dignity of her husband.

In the early stages of her husband’s disease, Barbara made an appointment for occupational and physical therapy consultations along with a home environment assessment. This decision helped her to begin planning for the physical care and necessary home modifications to support her husband’s needs. She offers these additional ideas for caregivers to customize their caregiving procedures as needs arise:

Mobility Aids/Furniture:
Wheelchairs—consider two separate chairs—one to use for indoor mobility and at the kitchen table (can be locked in place) and one to use for outings to the mall or family gatherings.

Walker—the best investment has been a four-wheeled walker with balloon tires, hand brakes and a padded seat. It glides over the ground and uneven surfaces and was paid for by Medicare and a co-insurance policy.

Recliner—add a wooden base to the chair to raise the height six to 10 inches.

This makes it easier for the care receiver to get in and out of the chair alone.

Electric lift chairs are another option and may be partially paid for by Medicare.

Bathroom Safety:
Install grab bars in several wall locations and a safety handle on the edge of the bathtub. Be sure to drill the bars into a wall stud for maximum hold and safety.

Remove the toilet seat and place a commode frame with arm rests over the toilet or purchase an elevated toilet seat with raised arms.

For sanitary purposes, keep flushable wet wipes available for use after toileting. Wipes can also be used to clean bathroom fixtures.

Add a non-skid bath mat, a bath bench and a handheld shower head to allow the care receiver to assist with their own shower.

For grooming, use an electric razor and an electric toothbrush to encourage self-care.

Incontinence Products:
Use incontinent pads and adult briefs in layers as needed for full protection against wetting through.

Clothes or furniture:

Washable sheet protectors and chair pads can be used to save on constant laundering. For full protection, layer several pads on the bed or chair.

Floor Safety:

Use a Swiffer-type dry and wet mop on the floors for easier cleaning.

Do not use throw rugs, but if the floor surface is slippery, use a short-napped rug with a rubber backing.

Personal Safety:

Purchase a whistle from a hardware store, tie it onto a long piece of elastic and place it around the care receiver’s neck. This can be used to call for help, especially if the caregiver has a hearing deficit. Place another whistle near the bed or toilet if needed.

Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) can be rented monthly to summon help when the caregiver is out of the home.

Alarm systems can be purchased from medical supply companies and installed at exit doors and on wheelchairs to prevent wandering or falling.

Transfer or restraining belts can be used to keep the care receiver secure in the chair when the caregiver has to leave the room. It can also be used to assist in safely helping the care receiver out of bed or a chair.

Mealtime Options:

Canvas aprons can be purchased at craft stores. Cut the ties off and replace with elastic on the top to enable the care receiver to put it on without help. Vinyl or quilted bibs/aprons can also be purchased from medical supply companies. Place the bottom half of the apron underneath the plate for neater mealtimes.

Use cups or glasses with lids and straw holes to prevent spilling. A two-ha ndled cup with a spouted lid can also be kept by the bedside.

If the care receiver has tremors, buy shallow soup bowls and edge guards for plates to keep the food contained.

Purchase utensils with weighted, built-up or angled handles to help hands remain steady.

Car Ideas:

Car seats made of leather are easier to access and to clean.

Consider purchasing a swivel seat cushion to ease car transfers.

Purchase a handicapped vehicle parking permit ($5.00) through the driver’s license bureau and have it authorized by the physician. Use the permit at any handicapped parking zone or at any meter in the city.

Pack a car tote bag. Include a package of wet wipes, bibs, a change of clothing, incontinent pads, plastic garbage bags, and water.

Eat in the car and park near a scenic area to enjoy the meal and the view if dining in a restaurant becomes too difficult.

Bedroom Solutions:

Consider the need for an electric hospital bed with a trapeze for movement and increased independence. This can be rented monthly through Medicare and a co-insurance policy.

Try nylon or silk pajamas for ease in turning in bed.Use a bed guardrail for safety and support.

Dressing for Success:

Velcro Hush Puppy shoes are easier for the care receiver to put on and take off. Turn a lace-up shoe into a slip-on shoe with elastic shoelaces.

Purchase pull on boots with zippers for winter.

Use a long-handled shoe horn with a spring hinge.

The care receiver will have warmer feet and avoid falling by wearing slipper socks with rubber treads over regular socks. Thin stockings vs. cushioned sole socks are better on carpeted surfaces.

Sport pants and elastic waistbands ease dressing woes for the caregiver and care receiver.

Visual Cues:

Magnifying sheets, magnifying glasses, large wall clocks, talking watches and natural spectrum lamps help those with impaired vision and encourage independence.

Enriching Activities:

Review photo albums and old greeting cards.

Read the comics.

Listen to music and books on tape.

Enjoy walks in the park when able.

Create a memory box filled with past treasures or items that encourage reminiscence.

Display things around the home that bring joy such as family photos, children’s art work, and holiday decorations. This display also helps with time or seasonal orientation.

Consider attending a Parkinson’s disease support group together.

As one can see, revising care procedures and modifying your home can promote successful caregiving. In addition, these ideas will uphold the dignity and independence of the care receiver. Learn from others who have walked in your shoes and set your sails for a new direction in providing care for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease.

Kristine Dwyer is a Caregiver Consultant and Licensed Social Worker with Carlton County Public Health in Cloquet, Minnesota. She is also a past and current caregiver for family members. Barbara Churchill has been a caregiver throughout her lifetime and is a mother of seven children. Our hope is that this joint article can reach and positively influence caregivers and care receivers with Parkinson’s disease across the nation.


Caregivers - Beleaguered Caregivers Getting HELP from Apps


Beleaguered caregivers getting help from apps

Copied from The Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation Weekly News Update

From GPS devices and computer programs that help relatives track a wandering Alzheimer’s patient to iPad apps that help an autistic child communicate, a growing number of tools for the smartphone, the tablet and the laptop are catering to beleaguered

Jim Fitzgerald

Seattle Times - As her mother and father edged toward dementia, Nancy D’Auria kept a piece of paper in her wallet listing their medications.

It had the dosages, the time of day each should be taken and a check mark when her folks, who live 10 miles away, assured her the pills had been swallowed.

“I work full time so it was very challenging,” said D’Auria, 63, of West Nyack, N.Y.

Now she has an app for that. With a tap or two on her iPhone, D’Auria can access a “pillbox” program that keeps it all organized for her and other relatives who share in the caregiving and subscribe to the app.

“I love the feature that others can see this,” D’Auria said. “I’m usually the one who takes care of this, but if I get stuck, they’re all up to date.”

From GPS devices and computer programs that help relatives track a wandering Alzheimer’s patient to iPad apps that help an autistic child communicate, a growing number of tools for the smartphone, the tablet and the laptop are catering to beleaguered caregivers. With baby boomers getting older, the market for such technology is expected to increase.

The pillbox program is just one feature of a $3.99 app called Balance that was launched last month by the National Alzheimer Center, a division of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx.

“We thought there would be an opportunity here to reach caregivers in a different way,” said David Pomerantz, executive vice president of the Hebrew Home. “It would be a way to reach people the way people like to be reached now, on their phone.”

The app also includes sections for caregiving tips, notes for the doctor and the patient’s appointments, plus a “learning section” with articles on Alzheimer’s and an RSS feed for news about the disease.

Trackers are also important tools for Alzheimer’s caregivers.

Laura Jones, of Lighthouse Point, Fla., said she was able to extend her husband’s independence for a year and a half by using a program called Comfort Zone.

“He was just 50 when he was diagnosed,” she said.

Jones said she went to work so he would continue to get insurance coverage.

“Day care was not appropriate, home care was not affordable,” she said. “Even when he stopped driving, he would ride his bike all over town, to the gym, for coffee, errands. He would take the dog for a walk and be out and about when he was alone, and I was working.”

Using Comfort Zone, which is offered by the Alzheimer’s Association starting at $43 a month, she was able to go online and track exactly where he was and where he had been.

Her husband carried a GPS device, which sent a signal every five minutes. If Jones checked online every hour, she would see 12 points on a map revealing her husband’s travels. She would also get an alert if he left a designated area.

Eventually, the tracking revealed Jones’ husband was getting lost.

“He would make a big funny loop off the usual route, and we knew it was time to start locking down on him,” she said.

Mended Hearts, an organization of heart patients and their caregivers, is about to start a program to reach caregivers by texting tips to their phones.

“We hope this will be the beginning of several patient- and caregiver-based texting programs that reach people where they are,” said executive director Karen Caruth.

Lisa Goring, vice president of Autism Speaks, said tablets have been a boon to families with autistic children. The organization has given iPads to 850 low-income families. And the Autism Speaks website lists hundreds of programs — from Angry Birds to Autism Language Learning — that families have found useful.

Samantha Boyd, of McConnellstown, Pa., said her 8-year-old autistic son gets excited when the iPad is brought out.

“There’s no way he’d be able to use a keyboard and mouse,” she said. “But with the iPad, we use the read-aloud books, the songs, the flashcard apps.”

She said the repetition and visuals help. “He catches a word and repeats it back. He says the name of a picture, and the iPad says it back.”

Boyd said the iPad also works as a reward: “He likes to watch Netflix on it.”

“We’re in the infancy of what technology can do for caregiving and it’s only going to grow,” said Beth Kallmyer, a vice president at the Alzheimer’s Association.

But she cautioned it’s too soon to depend entirely on online tools.

“It’s not a good fit for everybody,” she said. “When you’re looking at people impacted by Alzheimer’s disease, including some caregivers, you’re looking at an older population that might not be comfortable. We always have to remember technology is great — when it works.”




Caregivers - Why Should I care anymore?


When Someone You Love Becomes Someone Else

Copied from The Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation Weekly News Update


Caregivers learn firsthand that illness and medication can cause scary changes in their loved ones. Here's how to cope.
Jane Heller

next avenue - There are 65 million family caregivers in America and although we’re devoted to our chronically or critically ill family members and would move mountains on their behalf, many of us harbor a guilty little secret: We fantasize about escaping into the car and driving away.

Why? For one reason, illness can change the personality and/or social skills of our loved ones, often dramatically, and we have to bear the brunt of their delusions, outbursts and just-plain-odd behaviors.

I wasn’t a caregiver to my father — I was only 6 when he died of brain cancer — but even my little-girl mind figured out that as his illness progressed he was no longer the same man who came home from work with a pint of Breyer’s vanilla ice cream just for me. One night, he crouched down on the floor to play with me, had a seizure, and fell on top of me in a spastic heap, rendering him Creepy Daddy instead of Nice Daddy. I was much too young to understand that it was cancer that had caused the change in him.

Today, my husband of 20 years suffers from severe Crohn’s disease and the stunning turnabouts in his personality nearly derailed our marriage.

When I met Michael, he was gentle, laid-back and respectful — not to mention extremely handsome. Then came his flare-ups, which necessitated high doses of steroids. Suddenly, he wasn’t so handsome; he was bloated and moonfaced. And he wasn’t so gentle; he was irascible. He came to be depressed, sullen and unreachable.

Unexpected Anger and Chemical Rage

One night we were packing for a cross-country move. He was not only taking the steroid prednisone for his Crohn’s but testosterone as well. Throw in his cocktail of Mount Gay Rum and tonic and he became a walking nightmare, prone to angry explosions that seemingly came from nowhere.

“The kitchen stuff goes in this pile,” I said at one point, pointing to the boxes full of pots and pans.

“Who put you in charge?” he demanded, his voice raised, his complexion flushed. “This was all your idea and I’m not moving anywhere!”

I launched into a defense of myself, pointed out that the moving company was due the very next day and suggested that if he didn’t want to uproot himself he could have mentioned it a tad earlier.

Big mistake. You can’t reason with someone who’s incapable of reason. If only I’d known that then.

At one point while I was talking, Michael really lost it. His eyes bugged out, his cheeks inflated like a cartoon character and he punched the wall. As he carried on like a child having a tantrum, it was all so bizarre that all I could do was to step back and observe the insanity. I hated my husband the whack job; I wanted my husband the sweetheart back.

Eventually Michael’s doctors eliminated two of the three offending chemicals in his system — the testosterone and the rum — and despite the continued presence of the steroids, he has been more even-tempered ever since. We're feeling more hopeful about the future and each other.

What's Really Going On

As caregivers, it’s our job to monitor the medications prescribed for our loved ones, to ensure that the meds aren’t making an already tricky situation even worse. But all too often it’s the illness itself that’s the villain — and we can't make it go away.

Many of the caregivers I interviewed for my book, You’d Better Not Die or I’ll Kill You, have witnessed Jekyll-and-Hyde transformations similar to my husband's. Actress Linda Dano shared that her father’s Alzheimer’s provoked an incident on a plane during which he clobbered Linda’s husband and ended up being taken to a hospital psychiatric ward. Public relations consultant John Goodman confided that his wife, who suffered from Cushing’s syndrome, tried to bite her nurses and doctors when she was in the hospital. Interior designer Toni Sherman reported that when her mother lapsed into dementia after a head injury, she accused Toni of having an affair with her stepfather.

“When it gets to the level of abuse,” says Suzanne Mintz, co-founder of the National Family Caregivers Association, “you’ve got a decision to make: Are you going to put up with this? Can you put up with this? You are allowed to say no.”

Mintz is right. My husband's behavior under the influence of that medication combo really rattled me. I don't think I could have stayed in the marriage if it had continued. Mintz emphasizes that the dark thoughts we all may have — like wishing we could run away — are perfectly normal and that we shouldn’t feel ashamed. "They don't necessarily mean you want the person to leave the premises," she says. "It's the disease you want to go away."

The key is to acknowledge those feelings, resign ourselves to getting fed up with the whole mess every now and then and confide in those people who won’t look at you as if you’re a monster when you vent. If you can articulate the dark thoughts to somebody else with a sympathetic ear — actually say them, out loud, to a friend, therapist, support group member, even the guy standing next to you at the checkout counter — you’ll feel better. You really will.

Jane Heller has written 13 romantic comedy novels, and is the author of You’d Better Not Die or I’ll Kill You: A Caregiver’s Survival Guide to Keeping You in Good Health and Good Spirits (Chronicle, 2012). Learn more from her video on the book.


Caregivers - Tips for Caregivers


Parkinson's Disease: Tips for Caregivers

Copied from The Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation Weekly News Update


Sandra Ray - With more than one million people affected with Parkinson’s disease in the United States today, there are many issues that caregivers are either facing now or will face in the future. Parkinson’s disease is a slow, degenerative disease manifesting itself in stiff muscles, difficulty walking, and other movement-related issues over time.

With the majority of those who are diagnosed over the age of 60, there are still many people who are diagnosed as young as age 30. Caregivers need to be aware of not only the issues that Parkinson’s poses for their loved ones, but ways that they can help mitigate the damage and help in quality of life decisions. Some of the areas where caregivers can assist include: medication management, exercise and diet, and reducing stress, and even issues related to travelling.

Parkinson’s Disease – What Caregivers can Expect:

In Parkinson’s disease, the body’s ability to produce and utilize a neurotransmitter named dopamine is affected. This particular neurotransmitter affects the body’s ability to control movement and coordination, as well as regulating mood. The result is that body movements become more stiff and regimented over time, responding less to the move “fluid nuances” of everyday movement that the body was once accustomed to. Many people with Parkinson’s also face issues related to depression when the amount of dopamine in the brain decreases. Finally, dementia and hallucinations are also a possibility, although only about 20 percent of people with Parkinson’s will also experience problems related to dementia. The onset for dementia symptoms and other cognitive or memory issues generally are noticed about 10 to 15 years after the first onset of Parkinson’s.

The first noticeable symptom of Parkinson’s is usually a slight tremor in the limbs. Over time, the patient will experience difficulty walking and may progress into a typical “Parkinson’s Gait” – shuffling, head facing downward, and little or no swinging of the arms. Freezing in mid-stride is also a common feature. Other secondary symptoms related to Parkinson’s include difficulty swallowing, small or cramped writing, loss of bowel control or constipation, dry skin and scalp, and even excess salivation.

Medication Management:

One of the issues that caregivers can face is learning how to cope with the myriad of medications that their loved ones may need to take to help manage the disease. Some of these medications may help manage symptoms related to movement, while there are also medications needed to help offset depression and mood issues. If your loved one is experiencing difficulties related to dementia, there could be other medications for that portion of the disease as well.

Depending on the situation, your loved one may be able to manage taking medication with little help from you. Dementia, of course, will require extra vigilance. Some of these ideas may help ease the medication worries:

Keep medications in their original containers.
Keep handy a list of medications that your loved one takes in case someone else needs to dispense medications for you.
Take the list to each doctor appointment, especially if you are seeing a physician who isn’t familiar with your situation.
Consider using medication “minders” for time of day or days of the week to keep a good system in place.
Keep other family members and friends informed about the medication schedule, especially if you are the sole caregiver.
Medications can be expensive, and if prescription insurance is an issue, consider applying to the patient assistance programs available through most of the pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical companies are required to have patient assistance programs to help those who may not be able to afford chronic medications. These programs are often guided by income and whether or not you have access to prescription insurance. The physician will often have to sign paperwork and provide a valid prescription for the medication that is needed. To find out if your medications are covered by these programs, visit or Both of these sites list medications by generic and brand name and provide links to forms that you’ll need to fill out in order to qualify. Eligibility requirements vary according to the company, so read each one before you apply.

Lifestyle Changes:

Parkinson’s disease may not require a dramatic change in your lifestyle overnight, but there will need to be some adjustments made, especially as the disease progresses. For example, physical therapy may be needed in order to adjust to some of the debilitating effects of the movement difficulties that will become more apparent over time. Medication can manage some of these effects, but eventually the medications will lose their effectiveness and physical adjustments will need to be made. Physical therapy can help provide coping mechanisms for the days when your body simply will not move as you want it to.

Finding the right exercise program is important. Many people find that they are able to maintain a fairly active lifestyle, making minor accommodations in the beginning for Parkinson’s. It is important, however, to consider slowing down or limiting certain types of activities due to the disease and its progression. For example, if you and your loved one enjoy swimming, make sure you both go together. If an episode of freezing occurs in the pool, it could be dangerous. Instead of running on a regular basis, walking may become a more pleasurable alternative. There are many activities which require only minor adjustments in timing or scheduling that can keep your lifestyle active without feeling that you are missing too much of your previous activities. It is important to discuss exercise programs with your physician, and he or she may be able to suggest other activities that will keep the body active and healthy at the same time.

Diet is especially important. If your loved one is overweight, now is an excellent time to begin managing weight loss. Even though obesity itself is not a cause of Parkinson’s disease, it can be a limiting factor in how much movement is possible as the disease progresses. Losing weight can help your body adjust quicker to movement-related issues and can help muscles adjust to the extra demands of the disease. Your physician can suggest dietary changes that will provide the maximum health benefit and one that can be easily adopted by others in the household if this is a requirement.

While dietary supplements like Vitamin E do virtually nothing to help with the disease management, changes in diet may be needed over time. If problems like swallowing do occur, changing the types of food in the diet may become critical. In addition, too much saliva can hinder swallowing, so limiting the foods that aggravate salivation may be helpful as well.

Travelling with Parkinson’s:

Many people feel that Parkinson’s disease limits their ability to travel and enjoy the retirement or later years. Instead, people with Parkinson’s can still travel – they just need to make a few extra planning steps in order to make their trip enjoyable. Here are a few tips to consider:

If you’re flying, arrive at the airport earlier than usual to compensate for movement difficulties that may arise as you navigate the security checkpoints and allow for last-minute gate changes by the airlines.
Double-check your medication to make sure that you have more than you’ll need for the trip. If you’re stranded a few days at your destination before you can return home, having extra medication is not only handy – it’s a necessity.
If you can’t bring extra medication, check to see if your pharmacy is available in the town where you’ll be travelling. Make sure that you have enough refills in case you need to pick one up while you’re away.
Keep emergency numbers stored in more than one place – having them in the suitcase only, for example, can be a problem if your luggage takes a sudden detour while en route to your destination. If possible, carry a small bag with extra medication and emergency phone numbers, including your physician’s.
Plan extra time on you vacation for rest. In the excitement of the trip, it’s easy to overdo the amount of activity that is packed into one day. Schedule rest time to make sure that your body isn’t overtaxed. If you need to add more days to the trip or plan less, it will be worth it if you don’t have the stress of feeling as if you were too limited by Parkinson’s.
Caregivers can do much to help their loved ones keep the disease as manageable as possible. By helping with medication management, doctor’s appointments, keeping a consistent diet and exercise plan, and even managing those fun vacation getaways, caregivers can inject a feeling of hopefulness into an area of life that could quickly become too stressful. Reducing stress is also a key area to consider with Parkinson’s, since stress has been known to aggravate Parkinson’s symptoms.

There is no known cure for Parkinson’s, although researchers are working on one every day. Until a cure is found, the disease can be managed. The effectiveness of the treatment relies a great deal on the amount of planning and communication that takes place at home, as well as that done in the doctor’s office.