Things To Know as a Caregiver of Someone with Parkinson's

Over six million people have Parkinson's disease (PD) worldwide. Understanding the basics of caregiving for someone with PD and discovering some critical things to know about it and your role as a caregiver will make being a family caregiver easier.

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Things To Know as a Caregiver of Someone with Parkinson's
2 Min Read November 29th, 2022

Parkinson's disease commonly affects seniors, with most people being diagnosed at the age of 60. Around one million people in the United States live with Parkinson's, impacting their families and finances. Most Parkinson's patients receive informal care from family members or close friends. This caregiving involves a lot of work—physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Unfortunately, the majority of family caregivers lack the necessary skills to handle this demanding job, not to mention the difficulty of balancing their careers and families with their caregiving responsibilities. 

Many family members find out too late that health insurance and Medicare won't pay for most of the custodial care (help with everyday living activities) that those with Parkinson's require. Medicaid is not an answer either unless the person with Parkinson's has little or no income and assets. You also cannot purchase Long-Term Care Insurance if you have Parkinson's, but if the individual purchased a policy before being diagnosed, the policy would pay for their care.

Unprepared, Family Becomes Primary Caregivers

Usually, someone from the family will become the primary caregiver. This role is often a daughter, but not always. The term "sandwich generation" comes from those individuals who must care for an older family member while caring for their children and often juggle their careers simultaneously. 

As a caregiver, your role includes specific tasks that enhance the care recipient's life and maximize their well-being. Gaining more clarity on this health issue helps caregivers, partners, and family members of individuals with Parkinson's provide better support. Here are three essential things to know as a caregiver of someone with Parkinson's. 

Understanding Parkinson's

Parkinson's affects one's neurological and movement functions. In the U.S., it's the second leading brain disease, following Alzheimer's. Parkinson's often represents itself as resting tremors and stiffness. Other possible common symptoms include:

  • Imbalance

  • Sleep issues

  • Increased risk of depression

  • Sudden reflexes

  • Slow movements

The symptoms of Parkinson's greatly differ by person, meaning that individual care works best. What works for one person may be of little use to another. As a caregiver, finding treatment that's specifically designed for your patient, partner, or family member ensures they receive the best care possible.

Basic Caregiving Roles

Although the type of support each individual with Parkinson's receives differs, some caregiving roles remain the same. Typically, caregivers are in charge of tasks such as:

  • Managing medication

  • Assisting with hygiene and other daily tasks

  • Providing emotional support and company

  • Providing movement and mobility assistance

  • Providing therapeutic aid

  • Providing transportation

Other parts of your role as a caregiver will depend on the severity of symptoms for the person in your care. Finding ways to improve the quality of life for someone with Parkinson's is also an important part of being a caregiver.

Providing Support

Being a caregiver is just one of the many ways to support someone with Parkinson's. Beyond the crucial role of being a caregiver, you can provide support by spreading awareness and advocating for Parkinson's. Greater awareness of the disease and increased funding for Parkinson's research help professionals find further means of treatment, symptom relief, and early diagnosis. 

Supporting yourself throughout the process also aids the care recipient, allowing you to provide a strong and reliable support system. There are many tips and tricks for Parkinson's caregiving that prioritize the well-being of both the caregiver and the person they help.

Caregiving for someone with Parkinson's comes with a lot of responsibility and different things to know and learn about. Understanding the basics of the caregiving role, Parkinson's, and the various ways to support someone allows you to provide better aid for your family member, partner, or friend.

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About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

Parkinson's is one of many things that lead to someone needing long-term health care. You and your family must overcome the obstacles that come with aging. Being ready for these obstacles beforehand will make the challenges of longevity easier for you and your loved ones.

The cost of long-term health care is rapidly increasing. Medicare and health insurance generally contribute next to nothing toward the cost of long-term care. The financial repercussions may alter your way of life and legacy. It's important to consider how the costs and burdens of aging will affect your family.

Family caregivers are ill-equipped and unprepared for the job. You probably don't want to make your adult children and their families bear the burden of being your future caregiver.

You also deserve to have quality care when you need it. Professional caregivers have the necessary training to provide you with personalized personal services, such as assisting you with everyday tasks or providing needed supervision become of dementia.

The problem is quality long-term health care is expensive. The costs can adversely alter your income, assets, lifestyle, and legacy, even if you have a comfortable nest egg. 

Long-Term Care Insurance will provide the necessary funds to pay for quality care in the desired setting. You will get the quality care you deserve, and your loved ones will also have the time to be family instead of caregivers.

Since Long-Term Care Insurance is medically underwritten, it is best to obtain your coverage when you are still healthy and young. In fact, most people get coverage in their 50s when premiums are much lower, and health is generally better.

Locate a Reliable and Experienced LTC Expert

Make sure to get the proper kind of professional assistance. A knowledgeable Long-Term Care Insurance specialist can assist you in navigating the many options from all the top insurance companies. Premiums vary over 100% between insurance companies, and each company has its own underwriting rules. 

A general insurance agent or financial advisor lacks this expertise.

Seek help from a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist and get accurate quotes and professional recommendations from all the top companies - Find a Long-Tern Care Specialist.

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You probably have questions about long-term health care planning, and LTC NEWS provides the answers for many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions. Find all the tools and resources that are available on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning.

The cost of long-term health care is exploding. This calculator is an outstanding tool whether you are helping someone find care today or you are planning for yourself for the decades ahead.

Find the current and future cost of long-term health care where you live - LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator.

Loved Ones Need Help Now?

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

If your parent or parents need help, be sure to get them quality care. LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

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Some people have a large portion of their savings in their homes. With the help of reverse mortgages, you can find ways to pay for quality in-home care, pay for LTC Insurance, and even assist with cash flow during retirement.

Yes, today's reverse mortgages may be the perfect way to pay for a Long-Term Care Insurance policy or even cover the cost of in-home care if you or a loved one is currently in need.

Asking an expert with your questions will help you learn more. Mike Banner, a columnist for LTC NEWS and the host of the television program "62 Who Knew," will respond to your inquiries about long-term care, reverse mortgages, aging, and health.

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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