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Charting Your Course
With Parkinson's Disease Care
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:
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
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.
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.
Use incontinent pads and adult briefs in layers as
needed for full protection against wetting through.