As a caregiver for a person with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), in my opinion, you are an everyday superhero! Parkinson’s is a complex, progressive disease with no cure. Every person’s Parkinson’s journey is unique. It may begin with a tremor in a finger and progress to daily challenges: difficulty with walking, talking, swallowing. Even simple movements can become arduous.
April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. This April in particular will be a month to remember due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19. If you are a primary caregiver for a loved one with Parkinson’s, it’s no doubt been a month filled with moments of fear and anxiety. Thankfully, seasoned caregivers have a toolbox filled with strategies to help them get through the day. They know who to call, where to seek help, etc. Primary caregivers are experienced, resourceful, and creative.
But what about those of you who became accidental caregivers during this time? You were living your life with all the necessary systems in place when the pandemic struck and life changed. We are all sheltering in place, working from home, homeschooling children, and now you are also a caregiver--an accidental caregiver with a big heart, full of love and compassion but not a lot of experience!
Through this pandemic, many families have had to make new decisions about their loved one’s care:
That was the beginning of my mother’s health journey. She was diagnosed with PD a few years later and passed away in July 2018. I miss her every day, but I'm thankful for the many lessons she taught me as one of her caregivers. I would like to share a few of them with you today:
Wishing you peace, love, and sparks of compassion. Debbie
A version of this post also appears on Caregiving.com.
Debbie is a wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend to many. She served as a part-time caregiver and full-time advocate for her mother, Barbara, who passed away from Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Dementia in July 2018. Her mission is to help caregivers not only survive but thrive during their caregiving journey!