Parkinson’s Disease

Singing in the Rain — Caring for My Family Members with Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis

Parkinson’s disease is unfortunately a part of my life story. My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and my mother had Alzheimer’s disease and then developed Parkinsonism. In 1985, I moved to Detroit with The Nashville Network with an opportunity to go to Nashville, my dream. Instead I made the decision to give up that dream and move back home to care for my parents for the next ten years.

La Enfermedad y el Cuidado de Parkinson

¿Qué es la enfermedad de Parkinson?

La enfermedad de Parkinson (PD, por sus siglas en inglés) es una enfermedad neurológica progresiva que afecta principalmente el movimiento, pero también puede afectar el conocimiento. Esta enfermedad es el resultado de la destrucción de neuronas en los denominados “núcleos basales” del cerebro.

A passionate advocate for family caregivers

I became a caregiver when my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD) in 1999. We had no idea what to expect. We were both working full-time with a son in elementary school. The first few years were pretty easy with no progression and few obvious symptoms. After his father passed away in 2001, the progression began. Part of PD is REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), which is a sleep issue that causes the Person With Parkinson’s (PWP) to act out their nightmares. It’s accompanied by yelling, cursing, thrashing, punching, and any number of other disturbing behaviors.

Transferring Mom was New, But Restlessness and Inactivity Kindled her Agitation

Our family equation for caregiving developed slowly, over five rigorous years following our father's death. Two sisters and I divide the year into three, with each caregiving our 85 year-old mother four months. Mom spends summer on Kauai. 

My first summer with Mom was clumsy. Not clumsy like, "Oops, I tripped over a crack . . ." clumsy like a caffeinated circus performer juggling 14 greased kittens─ridiculous, slightly hazardous, and horrifying to observers.

I Do Not Sweat the Small Stuff

I became a cargiver shortly after my divorce. I had quit my job in an attempt to salvage my marriage . . . not the best thing to do.

I moved in with my parents to assist them and I had a place to stay. Then 3 weeks later my dad required a triple bypass. This became a full time job with his recovery, and since he has Parkinson's disease, it was even more difficult.

My Last Gift to Them . . . the Most Excellent People I Know

Almost eight years ago, I was a divorced woman living in the house I had owned since 1989. However, I had become unemployed about 6 months before my husband left me. I was given alimony for eighteen months, was allowed to keep the house, for which we had already fallen behind in paying the mortgage, and my ex was given all of the bills we had. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with cancer, and all debts and obligations were then turned back to me. . . . In the time I was unemployed I was trying to get a business idea going—in upholstery.

帕金森氏病 (Parkinson's Disease - Chinese)

The following Fact Sheet is available as downloadable PDF document. To view and print this file you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is available as a free download by clicking here.

帕金森氏病 Download here (353k) Simplified

Parkinson’s Disease and Caregiving

What Is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive, neurological disease that mainly affects movement but can also affect cognition. Parkinson’s disease results from the destruction of nerve cells in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia.

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