Care partners, care givers, care takers all mean the same thing. You experience life together. In good times and challenging times. In sickness and in health. Throw in the part about chronic illness. When one of you is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you both live with it. Most care partners focus on the person with Parkinson's well-being before thinking of taking care of oneself. Generally, the care partner takes the person with Parkinson’s (PWP) to various doctor appointments, run errands and maintain most of the house work.
The responsibilities of the Care Partner can be looked at as being the life line for the PWP. Have you made arrangements for plan "B"? Who will help take care of the PWP if something should happen to the care partner? Help may be needed short term if the partner is incapacitated due to illness or accident. Have you made arrangements for help in the home? Family and friends may or may not be close by to assist. Having a plan, whether that be respite care while the care partner is incapacitated or in a facility. Sometimes a family member is able to temporarily stay with your loved one while you are unable to.
Did you discuss or put in writing what you would do if something were to happen to you, the caretaker? If not, now is the time to make those arrangements. It is much now than before a crisis.
Have you talked about what will happen if the care partner dies before the PWP? I know that this is a sensitive subject to discuss. However, it is very important to explore the possibility of passing away before your loved one does. This will help all of you during the difficult time.
Let us know what sort of arrangements you have made. What was helpful for you in making decisions? What agencies have helped you when the Care partner is incapacitated? If you haven't made arrangements, think about why you haven't yet. If you need resources, feel free to contact me at (303) 861-1810 or The Parkinson Association of the Rockies office at (303) 830-1839.
Cari Friedman, LCSW