Caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s disease (PD) during the holidays can be a stressful time. A caregiver may feel pulled in multiple directions as holiday obligations add up on top of regular duties. The holiday spirit may seem lost amongst presents, cookies, and feelings of isolation. Find time for yourself, family traditions, and creating new memories despite the pandemic with a few simple tips.
Plan for Yourself, Plan for your Loved One
It’s easy to get overwhelmed during the holidays but planning ahead of time helps a lot. Spread errands around, toss aside guilty feelings, and ask for help. Create time each day for self-care and get enough sleep every night. Know and watch for the signs of burnout and consider implementing some of these helpful tips to make the season more enjoyable:
- Gather with members of the same household only and consider a video call with other families to keep everyone safe.
- If you have to travel, plan by calling the airline to request assistance services for patients with medical conditions. You can also find out about how medications and equipment should be stored and labeled. Give yourself extra time for rest breaks, arrival, etc.
- Create a list of simple goals to keep expectations realistic and stress levels lower:
- Communicate with family ahead of time regarding priorities and availability.
- Try making the least number of changes in routine as possible.
- Ensure you are well-supplied for the holidays so you can avoid last-minute trips.
COVID-19 and Parkinson’s
Patients with PD are mostly in their senior years, and older individuals are at the most risk for contracting COVID-19. The disease itself doesn’t raise your risk of getting COVID but makes it harder to recover if you get it. The CDC recommends you avoid travel and large gatherings this holiday season, particularly for those at higher risk, along with standard safety measures. Health officials are also strongly recommending seniors get the pneumonia and flu vaccine as soon as possible or speak about it with their doctor.
Progress Through Research
Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder without a known cure. Through ongoing research efforts, breakthroughs in treatments have improved care continue to provide hope for the patients and their families. Some research areas focus on deep brain stimulation, neural growth factors, and various medications. Remarkable progress continues to take place, and yet we still have a ways to go.
Clinical research volunteers make improvements to healthcare possible. If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s, upcoming research studies may be an option. Take a stand today and learn more about future enrolling PD studies here at Neuropsychiatric Research Center of Southwest Florida. Call us at (239) 939-7777 or visit our website.