When a loved one is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD), spouses, children and close friends may find themselves transitioning into the role of a care partner. For many with Parkinson's, care partners are an integral part of their support system and care team. For care partners, this may bring questions about how best to support a loved one while maintaining other interests and responsibilities.
Whether you're just beginning your journey or looking for new ideas, you may find our community's tips on building and balancing life as a Parkinson's care partner helpful.
1. Make time for yourself. Caring for a person living with Parkinson's disease, or any illness, can be overwhelming at times. To cope with stress, find time to relax, schedule social activities with friends and make sure to participate in activities you enjoy. Maintaining your health and hobbies can keep you balanced.
2. Keep a sense of humor. Laugh much and laugh often. Laughter promotes a general sense of well-being. And, research suggests it's a form of stress relief.
3. Read a book or meditate. In moments when you're seeking relaxation, one of our community members recommends reading or doing guided meditation. Of course, these aren't for everyone and other activities may soothe you more easily.
4. Join a support group. Many care partner groups, both in-person and online, meet regularly. If those don't suit you, consider starting your own. Sharing your experiences with others who relate helps build connections and serves as a reminder that you are not alone in this journey.
5. Exercise regularly and encourage your loved one to do the same. Exercise has health benefits for everyone and research shows that it can ease Parkinson's motor symptoms, such as balance and rigidity. Knowing your loved one feels some relief may make a difference for you, too.