As caregiver for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease, you are that person’s “key support person,” and a great deal of time, patience, and love is required of you to do this difficult and often stressful job. As difficult as your role is, it can also bring you and your loved one closer and strengthen the bonds between you.
Your job as caregiver is to provide support, but YOU will also need support! There are many resources, both professional and non-professional available to you as a caregiver for someone with Parkinson’s disease. Where do you need to look for these useful resources? This guide will provide you with a list of reputable and reliable resources to help you cope in your role as caregiver.
Resources for the Parkinson’s Caregiver
Friends, Family, Church
Never underestimate the strength and support you can get from your close friends, family, co-workers, and church. Don’t be ashamed or timid about letting them know what type of support you need, whether it be emotional, physical, or both. Often times, others close to us don’t realize we may need help. They can’t read our minds, but if you let them know, most of the time they will be willing to support you any way they can. The saying “that’s what friends are for” is true!
Community Parkinson’s Support Groups
Parkinson’s support groups are not just for patients, they are for caregivers too. Many times they provide speakers on various topics concerning Parkinson’s disease that will help you better understand how to help your loved one and you may learn new ways of caring for them that may make your job a little easier. Other caregivers will be attending these support group meetings with their loved ones so you will have an opportunity to meet and network with others just like you! Read your local newspaper for Parkinson’s support groups in your area, inquire at your local library or doctor’s office for information on support groups, and ask your friends and family if they are aware of one in your area. They are out there in every community. Don’t overlook local community support groups as a valuable resource available to you!
Online Parkinson’s Caregiver Resources
With internet access, the caregiver can find numerous reliable resources to help them as they help their loved one with Parkinson’s disease. The internet has a growing and extensive network of Parkinson’s disease advocacy, support, and community programs for support. Following is a list of just a few of the online resources that I have used and am familiar with and can personally recommend. There are many others, you just have to be willing to search them out.
Resource: American Parkinson Disease Association Inc. (www.apdaparkinson.org) 1-800-223-2732
Resource: Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (www.michaeljfox.org) 1-800-708-7644
Resource: National Family Caregivers Association (www.thefamilycaregiver.org) 1-800-896-3650
Resource: National Parkinson Foundation (www.parkinson.org) 1-800-327-4545
Resource: Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (www.pdf.org) 1-800-457-6676
Resource: Parkinson’s Health (www.parkinsonshealth.com)
Resource: We Move (www.wemove.org)
Resource: CARE- for Caregivers of People with Parkinson’s (www.pdcaregiver.org)
Resource: Parkinson’s disease Caregiver Information (http://www.myparkinsons.org/parkinsons-disease-support-groups.shtml)
You as a Parkinson’s caregiver are not alone. Use the resources listed above to give you the support you need while caring for your loved one with Parkinson’s. They will make your job a little easier and even more rewarding!