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What Comes After a Parkinson’s Diagnosis

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 9:00 am on

When a loved one is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, getting over the initial shock can take time. This is just as true for family members as it is for the senior who has been diagnosed. How you respond in the days and weeks that follow this diagnosis, however, can have a significant impact on the short and long-term wellbeing of your elderly family member.

Offer Your Support

It is important to offer support early on and to state your commitment to helping your senior loved one maintain an acceptable life quality. People can gain tremendous relief by simply learning that they don’t have to face this challenge on their own. Although many aging adults are eager to maintain a sense of autonomy, having a flexible support system can be comforting.

Talk About Long-Term Plans
This is also a good time to initiate discussions about your loved one’s long-term plans. These conversations are rarely easy, but they must be had. Talk to your loved one about putting his or her advanced directives for long-term care in writing and about drafting a living will. You can also find out whether he or she wants to age in place and discuss feasible strategies for helping him or her do so, like finding specialized Parkinson’s home care in Sonoma.

Create and Share a List of Resources
Use the web to devise a list of resources that can help your loved one out as his or her needs and abilities change. This list can include everything from Sonoma home care companies to assistive devices that are designed to make every day tasks easier for those who are experiencing loss of fine motor control. You can look up local meal delivery services, options in senior transportation assistance, and local PD support groups. Organize your list in easy-to-follow sections so that your loved one’s developing communication issues do not diminish the value of your efforts.

Learn More About PD
Parkinson’s affects fine motor control and senior mental health in a variety of ways. Both dopamine and serotonin production are likely to decline and this can lead to tremors, a marching or shuffling gait, and other mobility issues. Many family members are surprised to discover that seniors with PD are also prone to bouts of overwhelming depression and anxiety. They can even have a hard time processing conversations that change course too often or move at too rapid of a pace. Understanding these developments will make it easier for you to provide support that is in line with your loved one’s changing needs.

Tag Along on the Next Doctor’s Appointment
Ask if you can take part in the next doctor’s visit. This will give you the opportunity to offer greater support, learn more about the treatment plan, and get in-depth and up-to-date information on your family member’s condition. You can talk to the doctor about what to expect and get advice on how to help your loved one maintain a safe and comfortable lifestyle.

For more information on promoting a high quality of life for a senior loved one with Parkinson’s, reach out to Home Care Assistance in Sonoma, CA. In addition to Parkinson’s care, we also offer dementia, Alzheimer’s, and stroke care in Sonoma. We are available 24/7, never require families to sign long-term contracts, and all of our care services are backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. To learn more, call a friendly Care Manager at (707) 843.4368 and request a complimentary in-home consultation.