Anyone diagnosed with Parkinson’s will be affected differently and will feel a range of emotions.
Although there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, there are a variety of therapies, medication and support services which can help relieve the symptoms.
Local therapy services can not only help with the motor skills that are affected but give people living with Parkinson’s a chance to gain advice and guidance on making every day more comfortable.
- Physiotherapy – helps relieve muscle stiffness and joint pain through movement and exercise
- Occupational therapy – identify difficulties in everyday life, practical solutions and help ensure the home is safe to maintain indolence.
- Speech and Language therapy – some symptoms of Parkinson’s affect speech and swallowing; this therapy can teach exercises to improve the problem
- Dietician – changes to the diet can help improve symptoms. Diet advice can help pinpoint where a change in diet may be needed
There have been many advances to the range of medication on offer, used to treat the main symptoms of Parkinson’s (tremor and movement). The three most commonly used are:
- Levodopa – it’s absorbed and turned into dopamine to help transmit messages between areas of the brain
- Dopamine Agonist – acts as a substitute for dopamine
- Monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors – block the effects of brain structure or enzymes that break down dopamine
Some medications are not useful for everyone and have their own side-effects. The GP or Parkinson’s Specialist will be able to provide the right advice for what medication is right for you or a loved one.
Some people may need to take quite a few different medications as it progresses. Keep a diary and chart of what medication is to be taken when and track any side-effects. The GP, specialist or pharmacist will be able to advise on what the medication is used for, and tracking can help plan for the future and keeps communicate with other carers or family members.
In some cases, there may be a need for a surgery called deep brain stimulation. This is when a pulse generator, like a heart pacemaker, is implanted into the chest wall and is connected to specific areas of the brain. A tiny electric current is produced, which stimulates the part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s and easing symptoms.
Support for Primary Carers
If you are looking after a loved one who has Parkinson’s, you may not see yourself as a primary carer at first. It’s important to remember you also have access to a range of services and support to help you.
GPs, specialists, consultants and nurses are available to provide you with advice and guidance, as well as make sure you keep yourself well and healthy. The variety of therapists mentioned above can also provide advice on supporting a loved one, to help make symptoms more manageable. Support groups and organisations can help you meet other families also living with the effects of Parkinson’s along with sharing their own stories and recommendations which may help.
Respite care is also an option to help you get a much-needed rest or have some time to yourself. At Heritage Healthcare Wakefield, one of the services we offer to clients is respite care. We work with our clients and their primary carer to create a care plan based around their current routine, getting to know the needs, wishes and requirements and partnering clients up with a Care Assistant they will have a trusted friendship with.
To find out more about the respite services available with Heritage Healthcare