The Brentwood branch of Helping Hands gave out important advice to family caregivers supporting a loved one living with Parkinson’s, as part of Parkinson’s Awareness Week.
Bethany Wells, Care and Training Practitioner for Helping Hands Brentwood, did a reflective project on Parkinson’s when she was an aspiring clinical nurse and now knows first-hand the importance of educating families on the condition.
Bethany said: “When caring for someone with Parkinson’s, it is important to remember that your loved one is not defined by their disease, it is not uncommon for someone to feel isolated or frustrated when they have a long-term condition.
“Everyone who has this diagnosis responds differently at different times and it is so important for family caregivers to ensure they support their loved ones with the right care at the right time.
“The severity of Parkinson’s can change from day to day, which is why as a caregiver it is important to promote independence and dignity throughout the delivery of care to ensure that your loved one’s needs and wishes are met and respected.
“When you’re a caregiver for someone with Parkinson’s, you always have to bear in mind that the changes and needs are not always predominantly physical. Emotional and mental support is a huge part of managing expectations and in turn, managing Parkinson’s. Offering your loved one the chance to talk about how they feel whether it is a good day, or a bad day should be at the forefront of care delivery.
“On a personal note, when I have cared for people who have Parkinson’s I have always encouraged the following: communicate and stay positive. If you can achieve these two things in the carer to customer relationship, care delivery can exceed expectation. We believe in an inclusive, person-centred approach when we deliver care and value our customers choices and wishes.”
Helping Hands Brentwood currently supports 57 customers in the area and employs 29 local carers.