What are some methods to help me cope as a caregiver?

I’m struggling as a caregiver to someone with Parkinson’s.


Community Answers
  • angela.robb moderator
    1 year ago

    As caregivers/care partners, it is very important that we recognize when we need help. We always need to be on the lookout for resources in order to take care of ourselves. Here are a few of the resources that I’ve used to help me along my 20 year journey of being a caregiver/care partner:

    • Find a local caregivers/care partners support group. Being a part of a support group can be supportive to you in many ways. Providing you an opportunity to share your personal story and realizing you are not alone in your caregiving journey. Listening to others can be helpful in educating yourself about resources in your community. Developing relationships with other caregivers who can relate to your caregiving challenges and successes can be reassuring. Gathering with others who understand some of what you are going through is a powerful tool in providing comfort and a place for support. Check with your local Parkinson’s disease organization or Well Spouse Association (wellspouse.org) for groups that may be in your area.
    • Participate in online support groups and forums. If there are no support groups in your area or if you are unable to attend them, there are caregiver support groups and forums online where you can meet other caregivers. The Parkinson Foundation has a long standing online Caregiver’s forum along with additional forums: Ask the Doctor, Ask the Surgical Team, Ask the Pharmacist, Ask the Speech Clinician, Young Onset Forum, Open Forum and Deep Brain Stimulation Open Forum. Right here, ParkinsonsDisease.net has a forum available for caregivers and care partners. You can register and post your questions/comments online for other caregivers to provide their answers/suggestions.
    • Seeking out professional support. You may find that you need professional support to help you with your caregiver journey. Working with a mental health professional can provide a caregiver a variety of support options and tools that can be very beneficial and tailored to your specific personal needs.
    • Self-care tools such as meditation, exercise, music, Reiki and art have been helpful to me to find a ways to cope with stress. As my care partner role has evolved and changed, so have my self-care tools. Nineteen years ago I found Reiki (a hands-on complementary therapy that I can use to help reduce my stress and balance my personal energies). At first, I visited a Reiki practitioner who treated me but eventually I took my first Reiki class and started performing Reiki on myself. Along with learning Reiki, I also learned mindfulness meditation and Qigong. These three practices have brought me breath practices that calm my mind and bring me balance, a hands on modality that helps my body to relax and meditative practices that raise my spirit.

    Most importantly is to find what works for you! What works for me may not work for you. Although it may take you some research time to develop your support tool kit for your self-care, it’s vitally important to invest the time in yourself! If you try something you don’t like, keep trying and find the one that resonates with you. You may also want to read this ParkinsonsDisease.net article titled: Taking Care of the Caregiver: How To Prevent Caregiver Burnout

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