Caring for someone with Parkinson's
The symptoms of Parkinson's change
over time and the care you provide may also need to change.
Someone newly diagnosed with
Parkinson's may not need any practical help. But it can be
important for them to have someone to talk to, for emotional
As time goes by and Parkinson's symptoms develop, the person you
care for may rely on you more for support. See more about advanced Parkinson's.
Because of this, it's important to know how to get the support
you need with your caring role.
Finding out as much as you can about Parkinson's can help you understand what kind of
care is required and how to manage the treatment of Parkinson's.
Our information on how Parkinson's
progresses and living with
Parkinson's may help when thinking about what the person you
care for may need and preparing for changes.
Image: Jackie with her husband Colin, who has
Adapting to Parkinson's
No two situations are the same and no two experiences of caring are the same.
Not everyone with Parkinson's has the same symptoms and they
don't appear in a particular order, progress at the same speed or
in the same way.
Many people find that how the condition affects them can change
from day to day, and even from hour to hour.
The kind of help the person you are caring for will need depends
on how the condition affects them, what daily tasks they find hard
and what resources are available to help them.
Many people with Parkinson's stay independent for many years
after diagnosis, even if some activities need to be changed to make
Your attitude can make a big difference to how the person you
care for copes with living with Parkinson's.
- encourage the person with Parkinson's to lead as active
and as normal a life as possible
- allow them to do things for themselves, even if it takes
- take into account that Parkinson's changes a lot and the amount
of help they need will vary, not just day to day, but hour to
hour - at one time they might be able to do everything, then
another time they'll need more help or rest
- ask what help they want from you
- not worry if you sometimes get it wrong
- make sure you have the support you need to help you cope
Parkinson's medication can be one of
the biggest concerns of day-to-day life with Parkinson's. Someone
with the condition may have a complicated medication regime, taking
a number of different tablets each day at specific times.
Being responsible for medication may feel quite daunting,
especially as the condition progresses.
Ask for support from your GP, specialist, Parkinson's nurse or pharmacist to get a good
understanding of types and timings of medication.
Impulsive and compulsive behaviour
Impulsive and compulsive behaviour is
a side effect of some Parkinson's drugs. Although only a relatively
small number of people experience this behaviour, it can have a big
impact on the person affected and those around them.
Sometimes, people who experience this behaviour may not realise
they have a problem. So if you notice anything unusual, it's
important you discuss it with a healthcare professional as soon as
Caring for someone with dementia
As with Parkinson's, dementia is a progressive condition with
symptoms that change over time.
How quickly dementia develops will vary from person to person
and the type of help, support and care the person with dementia
needs will also change over time.
More about Parkinson's dementia and
dementia with Lewy bodies - including treatment and management,
and support for carers and families of people with dementia
Courses for carers
There are courses for carers
exploring the practical and emotional issues of daily life,
offering opportunities for learning new skills and meeting other
Support from health and social care professionals
There are many health and social care
professionals who can make a big difference to the quality of
life of someone with Parkinson's. Many also provide support
directly to carers.
The more support the person you're caring for gets from
professionals, the more you will be able to sustain your role as a
source of support for that person. It's important to know about the
different people who can help the person you care for.
You may find the following free publications useful:
It can also be useful for carers to keep a weekly or monthly
diary. Our Keeping a diary: for carers
information sheet has tips and suggestions on the kind of
information to include.
Also in this section
Parkinson's support networks
Finding the right support and information will benefit both you
and the person you care for.
Our Parkinson's support networks
section provides you with a guide to people who can provide
information and services, locally, nationally and online.