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Parkinson’s and Care Partners – Exploring Your Options

Posted Apr 07, 2014

April 2014 plays host to Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, in which there is a loss of cells that work to produce dopamine – a chemical that acts as a messenger between the brain cells that control movement.

Parkinson’s Society of Canada estimates that approximately 119,000 Canadians have Parkinson’s, 8,400 of those living in the Maritimes.

Signs and symptoms generally appear around age 60. Although, it can be present in younger people, the numbers of cases increase with age.

Parkinson’s is categorized by four cardinal signs; tremors, absence or slowness of movements, stiffness of muscles, and poor balance. Secondary symptoms can include fatigue, depression, constipation, sleep disturbances, soft speech, writing problems, stooped posture, changes in facial expression, decreased interest in diet and difficulty swallowing.

Because of the degenerative nature of this disease, those living with Parkinson’s disease certainly don’t forgo it alone. Often termed “care partner”, these individuals begin the shared experience of living with Parkinson’s. They must be able to adapt to a future of uncertainty and creativity, and maintain an open line of communication between their loves ones and support systems.

Many care partners choose to care from their own homes, as long as the basic requirements are met within the home.

Requirements such as…

  • All active rooms are on one floor
  • Grab bars, ramps, and handrails are installed and modifications to the bathroom are completed.
  • Person or persons available are available and willing to assist with medications, meals, personal care, transportation, companionship, and chores.

…must be considered, and maintained to ensure quality of life and safety are upheld within the home. Caring from home is much less expensive compared to the alternatives, and can be an extremely rewarding experience.

– And there is support! –

Many care partners and care givers across Nova Scotia are turning to private home care services to ensure that their loves ones are well cared for.

Let’s face it, full-time assistance is not a one person job. Between care giving duties and chores, where is the personal time? Where is the quality time with spent with your family separate form the disease? It’s important for care partners to practice self-care along with their care giving duties.

Respite care is often a much-loved service when full-time care partners are in need of a break. Someone to give them a few hours, or a days break from their care giving duties. Someone to make meals, help with transfers and exercise, clean the bathroom, help with restless nights, and allow people to be their loved one’s partner without the care.

Support is out there for care partners who wish to keep their loved ones home as their bodies and minds undergo change. In the Maritimes, care partners are never alone. Always Home Homecare is proud to do their part in supporting are givers across Nova Scotia.

Learn more about our respite services here: