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Parkinson’s Care: A Caregiver’s Checklist

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What does a Parkinson’s care worker do?

A Parkinson’s carer helps manage the symptoms of the condition and provides the support needed to make it possible for individuals to live an independent and comfortable life at home.

Parkinson’s is a progressive condition and can affect individuals in different ways. According to Parkinson’s UK “not everyone with Parkinson’s has the same symptoms and they don’t appear in a particular order, progress at the same speed or in the same way.” It can affect people on a day-to-day basis or even hour to hour. So, every individual’s care is unique to their situation.

Parkinson’s care can be provided on a visiting care or live-in care basis, depending on the individual’s needs. Responsibilities can include supporting mobility and helping individuals move around safely using walking aids. Or they may need assistance with preparing meals, getting dressed in the mornings and personal care. Ultimately, a carer’s role is to support people to live the life they aspire to lead.

10 requirements of basic Parkinson’s care

1. Compassionate and empathetic qualities

As a carer, it is important to be compassionate and empathetic. For some individuals, you may be the only person who communicates with them daily. Ultimately, the way you interact with them will make a real difference in their life.

2. Having patience

Someone living with Parkinson’s may have difficulty carrying out certain tasks or take longer to complete them. It may take them time to fold the clothes or walk from the kitchen to the living room, but you mustn’t rush them. Allowing individuals to carry out daily tasks on their own can help maintain their independence.

It is important to be patient with those living with Parkinson’s, especially as the condition progresses. It can be a frustrating time for them.

3. Support with daily routine

Daily tasks like shopping, cooking, and household duties can be difficult for those living with Parkinson’s. So, supporting with tasks like the laundry, preparing lunch, and picking up prescriptions will benefit them. Plus, they can continue to maintain their independence in the comfort of their home.

4. Explore the community

Accessing the community has a positive impact on the mind, body and spirit. Whether it’s a trip to the café for a cuppa, a visit to a friend’s house or a walk around the park, getting individuals out of the house is a great way to stimulate the mind and keep active too.

5. Being there for loved ones

For loved ones, it can be upsetting to see a family member or friend living with Parkinson’s, especially if they have always been self-reliant and independent. Providing care gives loved ones reassurance knowing their family member is being looked after while they are away. Plus, by supporting with tasks such as household duties and cooking, loved ones can focus on things that matter most.

6. Being a companion

Companionship is a must with any type of care. Providing a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on is beneficial for mental health. Parkinson’s UK states, “listen to the person with Parkinson’s and their family about how the condition affects them – they are the experts.” Having someone to talk to over a cup of tea or company while watching TV, can make all the difference to someone’s day.

7. Provide customers the respect they need

Some individuals may need support with personal care such as bathing, getting dressed, changing pads, and oral hygiene. It’s important to understand that personal care is carried out with respect and ensure the individual’s dignity is kept in mind.

It is also important to respect the individual’s wishes and decisions. There may be a certain way they like to fold the clothes or perhaps they like to keep things in a certain place, which is why their care should always be personalised to their needs.

8. Help with mobility

Parkinson’s can have quite an impact on mobility, “simple movements such as getting up from a chair, rolling over in bed or moving fingers to write or fasten a button can be difficult or painful.” It is vital to support individuals, so they can move safely around their house. You may be required to use hoists and walking aids to help support them. If possible, you should encourage them to exercise regularly to help strengthen their muscles and mobility.

9. Administrating medication

It is important to ensure that people living with Parkinson’s take their medication on time as “the balance of chemicals in their body can be severely disrupted.” It can impact symptom control and the individual’s well being.

Whether it is to prompt, assist or administer medication, you may be required to manage medication. If the individual is physically and mentally well enough, you should encourage them to take their medication. However, if they need assistance, you can be there to support them.

10. Love what you do

As a carer, no two days are the same. It is rewarding and at times can be challenging. However, when you have a passion for what you do, you can overcome any obstacles that come your way.

Being able to support and make a huge difference in an individual’s life is always worth the hard work. Even if you manage to make them smile, you have truly made a difference.

Domiciliary care assistant job application

If you are interested in joining Helping Hands as a domiciliary care assistant, get in touch now. You can apply via our careers page. All you need to do is fill in an application form and we’ll contact you as soon as we can. Good luck!

Page reviewed by Ashley Moore, Regional Clinical Lead on September 6, 2022