Supporting People to Live Well with Parkinson’s Disease
As it's Parkinson's Awareness Day on April 11th, our latest blog takes a closer look at this condition and how homecare from Bluebird Care Camden and Hampstead can support people to live well with Parkinson's disease.
As it's Parkinson's Awareness Day on April 11th, our latest blog takes a closer look at this condition and how homecare from Bluebird Care Camden and Hampstead can support people to live well with Parkinson's disease.On 11th April it’s World Parkinson’s Day, an annual event that aims to raise money for much-needed research and increase awareness of Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s UK estimate that there are over 145,000 people in the UK living with the disease, but with population growth and an ageing society, the number of people with the condition is set to increase in coming years. At Bluebird Care Camden and Hampstead, our experience of providing domiciliary care to customers living with Parkinson’s has helped us to understand many of the challenges this disease brings, so we’re always behind any initiative that aims to increase awareness and provide support.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition that develops when not enough of the chemical dopamine is produced in the brain due to the death of certain nerve cells. Why this happens is not yet known but, as dopamine is instrumental in relaying messages to the parts of the brain that co-ordinate movement, Parkinson’s can result in a complex range of symptoms which can include:
- Tremor – a shaking movement often most noticeable in the person’s hands and head.
- Rigidity – involuntarily, muscles suddenly become very tight which can cause pain.
- Slowness and freezing – general movement becomes much slower and the person might find that they feel as though their feet are stuck to the floor when trying to step forward.
- Falls and dizziness – blood pressure can become low and balance and co-ordination are affected which can make people more unsteady.
- Eye problems – looking at moving objects is harder as it’s more difficult to move the eyes quickly.
- Fatigue – mental and physical fatigue can occur due to sleep problems, medications and the effort of coping with other Parkinson’s symptoms.
- Eating, swallowing, speaking – the muscles in the jaw, face and tongue become weaker, causing difficulties with taking in food and drink and communicating.
- Bladder and bowel problems – messages between the brain, bladder and bowels are not transmitted effectively which can result in incontinence problems.
- Anxiety and depression – the changes and challenges brought on by Parkinson’s disease can understandably have a detrimental effect on the person’s mental health.
- Cognitive difficulties – planning, concentrating, multi-tasking and remembering may become more challenging.
- Dementia – Parkinson’s dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies can affect people with the condition.
- Delusions or hallucinations – some people may hear, feel or see things that are not there or have thoughts that aren’t based in reality.
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list and not everyone will experience the same difficulties, but different symptoms will appear and develop as the disease progresses, usually quite slowly over many years.
Managing Parkinson’s Disease with the Right Support
Although Parkinson’s disease can obviously result in everyday challenges, medications, therapies and tailored support can help people to manage the condition and maintain a good quality of life. Here at Bluebird Care Camden and Hampstead, we certainly don’t believe in ‘one size fits all’! Our social care experts work closely with people with Parkinson’s and their families to create homecare packages that balance providing practical care with respecting the person’s need to retain as much independence as possible. For some people in the earlier stages of the disease, simply having a helping hand to do the housework or make a meal might make all the difference to their daily life; whilst others may find that they need assistance to wash, dress or do physical rehabilitation exercises, for example. In our experience, every person living with Parkinson’s disease has unique requirements that will continually change over time as their condition develops, which is why we take a flexible approach that allows our in-home care plans to evolve with the needs of each customer.
As important as the practical help is, we don’t stop there. We believe the best quality homecare involves caring about all aspects of a person’s life and that obviously includes their psychological wellbeing. Our domiciliary care staff are great listeners and are always ready to provide the emotional support that’s so crucial to the welfare of our customers and their loved ones. Knowing what the person is struggling with allows us to provide solutions, ensuring that every person gets the highest quality person-centred care in the comfort of their own home.
If you live in the Camden and Hampstead area and would like to speak to us about how our flexible homecare could help you manage the challenges of living with Parkinson’s disease, please get in touch. You can call our helpful team for a chat on 020 7449 0557 or drop us a line using our online form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.