By Kari Wells, LVN
Holidays are meant to be a joyful time of celebration and creating good memories with family and friends. But for the person whose life has been affected by Parkinson’s disease, the Holiday Season may stir up feelings of anxiety, stress, sadness or even grieving the loss of those lighter times. For the caregiver, the added hustle and bustle can increase an already heavy load of responsibilities and emotion.
How do you overcome? The following suggestions can help ease your anxiety and provide a healthy break.
Set realistic expectations. You can only manage what you can manage, and what you can’t is okay. It may help to sit and write down the things that are important to you to accomplish and what you would need in order to be able to complete them or attend. Make sure to include things like going for a walk, increase your protein and water intake to keep your energy up.
For the caregiver, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It can be difficult to release the responsibility and sometimes control in allowing another person to care for your loved one. Do it in baby steps. Start with one or two hours. You may need to ask a family member, friend or Homecare agency to assist. In many cases, family and friends are happy to help, but don’t know how or what would actually be of help or useful to you. There are a few things you can do to help them be successful. Make a cheat sheet: What do YOU do when your loved one starts to have an issue with walking or choking? What are his/her favorite foods or television programs? Include emergency contact numbers and tid bits on ‘your way’ of handling things. This will help avoid the last minute panic of leaving and allow you time to accomplish things away from your home.
Lastly, be good to yourself as you are doing a very difficult job. It is a labor of love that not everyone will understand. Design a ‘time out’ corner with your favorite book, music, call to a friend or just quiet time to yourself. Give yourself something to look forward to.
Cambrian wishes you all the joy and laughter this season can bring, today and every day.
For information about Cambrian Homecare Click on the Cambrian Homecare link in PRO’s WELLNESS VILLAGE at ParkinsonsResource.org/in-home-care-agencies/.