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APR 18/2016

Parkinson’s and the impact on carers

Parkinson's carers

Every hour in the UK, a person’s life is turned upside down as they are told they have Parkinson’s which is a progressive neurological condition. Sadly a Parkinson’s diagnosis doesn’t just affect one person; it has an impact on loved ones whether that includes a partner, child or close friend.

Carers

According to Parkinson’s UK, a carer is defined as someone who looks after a family member, partner or friend and does not get paid for the care and support they provide.

Individuals don’t immediately become carers. In the early stages, a person with Parkinson’s may need comfort and emotional support as they work through their feelings and learn about the condition. However, as the Parkinson’s develops, a partner’s role could change as the person starts needing help with everyday tasks.

Communication is important

Not knowing about the future and how symptoms will develop can be unsettling for everyone. From initial diagnosis through to living with the condition, it is important to maintain communication with loved ones. It can be challenging as roles change and more support and care is needed.

Adapting to the situation

People with the condition don’t have all the same symptoms; they don’t develop at a set speed or in the same order as every person’s experience is different. The symptoms can change as the condition progresses but can they can also change daily or even hourly. This means a person with Parkinson’s needs may continually change and as a carer this will also have an impact on you.

Support for carers

It is vital you ask for support when you need it. You may find it helpful to meet other carers but also to find some time for you to continue the activities you enjoy. Focusing on your own needs and having some time away from your daily responsibilities can help.

Many organisations and local groups offer support for carers which can cover:

  • Advice and information
  • Respite care
  • Equipment and living aids
  • Training opportunities
  • Counselling.

You can find more information at Parkinson’s UK

In addition to helping the person with Parkinson’s, your local authority offers support for carers. If you provide a significant amount of care, you may be entitled to a carer’s assessment.

Carer’s assessment

There may be times when you need extra support around the home if for example, your health has changed or the person you care for is being discharged from hospital.

Carers of any age are entitled to assessments of their needs even if they aren’t related to or live with the person they care for. Carers can requests assessments if they:

  • Provide regular care
  • The person they care for is being discharged from hospital
  • Look after their disabled child under the age of 18.

The assessment will enable you to discuss how much care you can provide, the impact caring has on your own health, and identify any support you require for your caring role.

You can find more information about your rights and entitlements at Carers UK

Do you care for someone with Parkinson’s? Share your story here and join us in raising awareness of the condition. You can also check out our careers in care by clicking here.

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