Living Parkinson’s Awareness Every Day: Tips for Care Partners

Parkinson’s Awareness month has concluded for this year, and I thought I would share some of the insights that other caregivers have shared with me over April. As much as this list is meant for care partners/caregivers, it may be applicable for anyone:

Always be learning! Always be listening!

Even for those of us who are seasoned Parkinson’s community members, we can benefit from more information. Hearing different approaches, suggestions and other’s life experiences can be helpful. There are always new techniques, new thoughts, new exercises to receive. This helps me increase the tools in my toolbox.

Social interaction is important!

Isolation is hazardous to your health. You’ve got to go out and keep talking, keep laughing, keep living, and keep communicating with your family, friends, and your support system. If you stay at home, afraid to venture out because of your loved one’s symptoms or wondering if the medications will work or not, you will be doing harm to your body, mind and spirit. I just heard two movement disorder specialists, at two separate events, emphasize the point that keeping social is critical to living well with Parkinson’s. Socializing isn’t just good for your loved one, it is good for you, too!

You’ve got to speak up to be heard!

No one will know how to help you if you don’t tell someone. Advocate for your needs! It’s not time to be a martyr – it’s time to reach out to those who care about you and ask for their time, their support, and their help.

Teamwork is key to wellness!

You are not alone!  To live well with any health or life condition, you’ve got to build your care team. A care team is comprised of doctors, carers, therapists, consultants, advisors, or anyone who helps you with your life. From your neurologist, to your primary care physician, mental health professional, massage therapist, acupuncturist, support group, and even your dog walker – they all play a vital role in helping you to take care of yourself.

Never stop believing in yourself!

We all have remarkable powers we probably haven’t even tapped yet. Even when things get tough, don’t stop believing in yourself. You are stronger than you know!

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