What are the Special Challenges of Caring for Someone with PD?

  • The incidence and severity of PD symptoms varies from day to day, even from one time of day to another. It takes skill and patience to know when to assist with a task, and when to simply allow the person more time to do the task independently.
  • It also takes time and ongoing education to learn the multiple symptoms of PD and somewhat complicated medication regimes that offer the most symptom relief and improve quality of life.
  • Caregivers must closely observe the Person with Parkinson’s (PWP) over time to detect and respond helpfully to subtle changes in motor (how we move) and mood (how we think and feel).
  • The PWP’s awareness of changing abilities and health risks (such as falling) may not have “caught up” to his or her actual level of risk and impairment.
  • Friends and family members who have infrequent contact with the PWP often underestimate the severity of day-to-day symptoms as well as your level of caregiver burden.
  • Providing physical care to someone with advanced PD, such as re-positioning or help with bathing, can be exhausting and even cause injury to the caregiver.

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Caregiving content reviewed by: Susan Imke, RN, MS, Family Nurse Practitioner, Senior Health Solutions

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