Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease that tends to start around the age of 60 but can begin earlier for some. It can cause someone to shake uncontrollably and become stiff, which can lead to difficulty performing everyday tasks of normal living. Here's what you need to know about home care services if you or your loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
Why Are In-Home Care Services Beneficial?
Early symptoms can be somewhat subtle and unnoticeable; sometimes, the rate of the progression can be much faster in some patients than in others. These factors combined are why it's important for a newly-diagnosed Parkinson's disease patient to have home care services on a routine basis, preferably by the same caregiver. That way, the caregiver can more easily and readily recognize when the patient develops new symptoms or a progression in current symptoms.
What Types of Services Are Provided?
So now you may be wondering just what do in-home care service caregivers do. Here are just a few ways home care services can help.
They can assess your home for safety issues. Since Parkinson's disease leads to an unsteady gait that can result in trips and falls, one of the first things a caregiver will do is check the home for safety issues and provide you or your family with suggestions on how to mitigate those risks.
They can plan and prepare nutritious meals. It's important to eat a healthy diet so the body is nourished with what it needs. You should avoid preparing meals alone if you have shakiness or an unsteady gait. At first, you may be able to prepare your own meals under your caregiver's supervision, who can step in and provide more and more assistance over time.
They can perform basic housekeeping tasks. As the disease progresses, you may find it more difficult to perform basic housekeeping tasks, such as sweeping and mopping floors, doing laundry, and washing dishes. When one caregiver provides the assistance, they will be more able to notice signs that you've been unable to perform mundane tasks such as these to the level that you are accustomed to.
They can help you bathe and dress. As the disease progresses, you may find it increasingly difficult to do the basic tasks of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and toileting. In the beginning, your caregiver may suggest a different type of clothing and footwear than what is currently in your closet, ones that will be easier for you to put on and wear.
These are just a few of the ways an in-home care service can help, but they can also assist with medication reminders, transportation to and from appointments, and provide compassion and companionship.
When Should Home Care Services Start?
Due to the progressive nature of Parkinson's disease, having regular caregivers become familiar with you during an initial assessment will help them be able to more easily recognize any signs that show your Parkinson's is progressing. Having your initial assessment done right away will allow them to get to know you and your normal gait and natural movements before the disease progresses so they can recognize changes in the future.
Typically, an initial assessment is done over the course of several hours during which the caregiver pays attention to your body movements and cognitive ability and takes notes. This assessment should also include input from your primary physician or medical care team regarding your goals and treatments. Then, if there comes a time when the caregiver is concerned about the progression of your condition, they will already have a working relationship with your medical care team.