Living Well With Parkinson’s: Specialized Care Planning Is Critical

Almost one million people in the U.S. are living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. The Foundation says that men are 1.5 times more likely than women to get PD, and about 60,000 more people are diagnosed with PD each year.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for PD, which is a neurological disorder that affects people’s motor and cognitive skills, and which worsens over time. However, with physical therapy, medications, and technology, people living with Parkinson’s can continue living fulfilling lives.

At Windward, we care for men and women of varying ages who are living with Parkinson’s disease. Our care team works with the client and any family caregivers to create a care plan, and we match each client with home care aides who have the skill set to care for them. Our care and expertise include:

Physical and mental health

  • Encouraging exercise, which helps not only with strength, balance, and overall well-being, but memory as well.
  • Ensuring the patient maintains contact and engagement with other people to help them feel connected to their support system as their disease progresses.
  • Monitoring changes in symptoms, such as fatigue and challenges with balance, coordination, speech, and walking. Also, monitoring potential side effects from medications (which are common).
  • Monitoring mental health. A large percentage of people with Parkinson’s develop depression, so we look for those symptoms and connect the client with mental health providers. Untreated depression can worsen other symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Assistive devices and technology

  • Obtaining assistive devices (e.g., walkers or wheelchairs) when the client needs them. We also coordinate home modifications/construction to help the client live as independently as possible.
  • Connecting clients with assistive technology to help with communication. Parkinson’s can affect people’s ability to speak loudly and clearly.

Education and advocacy

  • Acting as a healthcare advocate, if needed, to ensure the client is getting regular medical attention from a neurologist who specializes in Parkinson’s. We also ensure the client can implement the physician’s recommendations, and that the physician gets the information they need from the client (such as symptom tracking).
  • Connecting clients with community resources such as the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego.
  • Offering Parkinson’s education and support to family caregivers.

Our home care aides are directly supervised by our Aging Life Care Managers, who ensure the care plan is being followed and make regular home visits and phone check-ins. Working together, our Aging Life Care Managers and home care aides provide compassionate one-on-one support, from companionship and transportation to assistance with activities of daily living.