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Families - helping ourselves

For your family and close friends to support you effectively they will need to understand the changes that come with living with Parkinson’s. You, in turn, should show an appreciation of them and their support so that you can maintain your current lifestyle for as long as possible.

Over time, you’ll all need to change and adapt your routines and activities so that everyone can enjoy a good quality of life. Therefore, discussing concerns together is usually beneficial. Below are some suggestions that may help you all manage Parkinson’s better:

  • Find out more about Parkinson’s, particularly symptoms, medications and quality of life issues.

  • Find out about local support groups or organisations that may be able to help.

  • Be realistic about what you and they can do and remember that limitations may change.

  • Make sure to take your time and don’t try to do things in a hurry as this may lead to tension when things go wrong or don’t happen when you expect them to.

  • Plan ahead and develop a routine that works around the times of day when you are at your best.

  • Make use of labour-saving devices, such as food processors and microwave ovens.

  • Try to stay calm; anxiety and stress can aggravate symptoms.

  • Take regular exercise to maintain mobility and muscle strength.

  • Eat a healthy diet.

  • Continue the social activities you enjoy. Going out and socialising will keep your spirits up and improve your quality of life.

  • Keep doing the things you have always enjoyed as a family so that Parkinson's doesn't dominate everything.

  • Make sure you and your partner pursue enjoyable activities independently of each other. This may result in being more relaxed when you are together.

  • Try not to bottle up emotions. Discussing concerns will stop the build-up of anxiety and help you to explore solutions together.

  • Check up on any help or benefits you may be entitled to.

  • Investigate complementary therapies to see what might be of help to you.

  • Adapt your home to make it easier to maintain independence and mobility, e.g. install hoists or grab rails.

  • Accept help when it is offered. 

With thanks to the European Parkinson's Disease Association for use of this material (EPDA).

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