Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects motor control and typically progresses over time. Patients with Parkinson’s experience slow movements, impaired balance, tremors, stiffness, and loss of smell — among other symptoms. Doctors like Joon Faii Ong may provide different treatment methods to treat some symptoms, but there is no known cure. The cause of this disease is still unknown, but genetic factors have been shown to play a significant role. Medication and surgery can offer relief from symptoms that may improve a patient’s quality of life. Despite these advances in managing the disease, there is still relatively little information about living with this potentially debilitating ailment.

A person with Parkinson’s requires assistance and care from others, such as family members and caregivers, to minimize the effects of the disease on their everyday lives.

Here are six ways that you can provide care and support for a loved one who has Parkinson’s:

1. Encourage open communication.

Encourage the patient to speak about their feelings with respect to their diagnosis. Often, this disease may lead to emotional upheaval in spouse/partner relationships, depression, and anxiety in both the patient and caregivers. When there is open communication, it is easier for everyone to express their emotions in a healthy manner.

2. Offer assistance with daily tasks.

Daily activities, such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping for groceries, may be difficult for some patients to complete independently. Offer to take over daily chores that you know will be helpful to the patient and their loved ones.

3. Establish a caregiving routine.

Create a schedule that outlines all of your caregiving activities in a week so that the patient, spouse/partner, and caregivers know when certain duties are to be carried out. This will ensure that there is less confusion for everyone involved and reduce tension among all parties. You can even have a dedicated binder or calendar to manage caregiving activities.

4. Offer encouragement and support.

A patient with Parkinson’s may begin to lose confidence and become frustrated as the disease progresses. Offer words of encouragement and remind them that you will be there to help and support them no matter what. This may mean getting more physically involved in your loved one’s lives; perhaps, carrying groceries or lifting heavy objects for older patients. If this is not an option, you can provide emotional support by simply listening to their concerns and offering words of comfort.

5. Learn more about Parkinson’s.

Although the cause is unknown, certain risk factors are associated with this neurodegenerative disorder, such as family history, age, and gender. You can help your loved one by learning more about Parkinson’s. Take the time to learn about symptoms, treatment options, and any risks associated with this disease.

6. Scheduling regular doctor visits are important for Parkinson’s patients.

The patient should visit their doctors regularly for check-ups so that they can monitor the progression of the disease and determine which medications are most effective at managing symptoms. This will allow their doctors to make changes to dosage or medication if necessary.

Relying on home caregiving services from an experienced caregiver agency can help reduce some of the stress and burden felt by both the patient and caregivers who are fighting this battle day in and day.