Care for Parkinson’s Caregivers
As anyone who has a friend or loved one with Parkinson’s disease (PD) knows, this is a disease whose effects change over time. It may start with a tremor or stiffness, but as it progresses, completing simple tasks, walking, talking, and even swallowing can become challenging.
People who are living with Parkinson’s eventually rely on family members – spouses, children, etc. – and other caregivers to help them live their daily lives. Caregivers are understandably focused on helping their loved one get through each day and each new challenge. But it’s important for caregivers to take care of themselves as well. This is something many family caregivers learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s especially true with a progressive disease like PD, whose effects can be exhausting for both the patient and the caregiver.
Julianne Barry, MSW, LICSW, is a Life Care Manager on our team who provides education and support for people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers. As Julianne explains, “I am a client advocate, helping the client’s voice be heard when there are many professionals involved.” She coordinates the client’s care, which can include in-home services, medical appointments, and making sure communication between all caregivers is clear and accurate.
Just as important, Julianne provides support, guidance and education to the families of people living with Parkinson’s. “One of the areas of challenge I see often is the ever-changing needs of a person with Parkinson’s,” says Julianne. “As a caregiver it’s hard to know what to expect each day. There are good days and bad days. One day a caregiver may feel as though they have their loved one’s care needs under control – and then suddenly they’re faced with a new issue.”
Julianne recently received a certificate in Team Training for Parkinson’s from the Parkinson’s Foundation. The training covered many aspects of caring for people with Parkinson’s, including managing symptoms, coordinating care, and supporting families.
Caregiver assistance and online events
We’d also like to share several other resources for Parkinson’s caregivers. The Parkinson’s Foundation is a great place to start. The “For Caregivers” section on their website provides guidance and links on topics such as “Caring for You,” “Outside Help,” and “Caring from Afar.”
You may also be interested in the Foundation’s “Top 10 Essential Caregiver Resources” or their YouTube video playlist for caregivers.
Free caregiver sessions in May
In May, you can participate in the Parkinson’s Foundation’s free online 2021 Care Partner Summit. The event offers several 30-minute and one-hour Zoom sessions on various topics related to PD caregiving. It’s recommended for anyone caring for someone living with PD, including spouses, partners, children or friends.
We’re here to help
Please feel free to call us (617) 928-0200, or use our online scheduler to book a time to speak with someone from our leadership team. We’ll be happy to talk more about how Julianne and our team can help.