If you live far away from a loved one with Parkinson’s, you may feel limited in how much you can help out. Our community shares advice on simple ways to feel more connected and involved, whether you and your loved one live a car ride or a flight apart.
As you reach out, remember that long-distance support can be emotionally draining. You may feel anxious or guilty when you’re away from your loved one, or stressed about fitting everything into a short visit. Know that these feelings are normal, and try talking with a friend or use other emotional management tips to help.
Keep your own binder or another organisational system with your loved one’s medical information. Keep track of medications your loved one takes, contact information for his or her doctors and other notes about care. Create a contact list of neighbours and friends who you can reach out to in case of an emergency.
Call, email or Skype most days, depending on your loved one’s preferences. Parkinson’s disease can impact speech, making phone calls difficult. For others, typing an email may pose a challenge. Try to reach out once a day in whichever way works best for you and your loved one.
If you can, occasionally have meals delivered or hire someone to do housework or garden work. Your loved one and/or the primary caregiver will appreciate the small break.
Ask how the primary caregiver is doing, too. As part of your check-in calls, chat with the primary caregiver. Caregiving can be stressful, and talking about it can help.
Make the most of your visits. Catch up on medical updates and ask about symptoms your loved one has experienced since you last visited. And talk about shared interests that aren’t related to Parkinson’s. Your visit can also be a good opportunity to give the primary caregiver the night off.
Source: The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research
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