When an individual receives a Parkinson’s diagnosis, it can be all consuming and take over as the focus of life.
The good news is that with some excellent coaching, it is easy to see the diagnosis as only part of who the individual is, not who they are as a whole. During the early phase of a Parkinson’s diagnosis, there will be anxiety, worry, and concern for everyone in the family system. Here is some helpful information for easing the journey of Parkinson’s with the help of an Aging Life Care Professional.
The medical community can connect all the professionals needed, but without some organization, it might be only when symptoms are problematic. If the diagnosis came from a Movement Disorder Specialist (who is a neurologist), they most likely will connect you with the experts for this journey. At times, they do not know the expertise and value of the Aging Life Care Professional, also known as a Geriatric Care Manager. The Aging Life Care Professional or Life Navigator can help you and your family focus on what gives your life meaning and purpose and can also attend to the medical issues that arise from a Parkinson’s diagnosis.
A medical team to be engaged should include a neurologist, speech pathologist, physical therapist, nutritionist, occupational therapist and sometimes a social worker.
The navigator has connections with supportive services. Support groups, personal trainers, volunteer opportunities, technology supports, and assists with entitlements are some services you may need. Local support systems from legal experts to housing options or home modification experts – which allows for aging in place.
Cost of care is a concern for most families as this journey progresses.
It is essential to get a recommendation for an Elder Law attorney. An Elder Law attorney specializes in helping couples or families dealing with the cost of long term care. Doing proper legal planning early in this journey is essential. It is best to start with an Aging Life Care Professional. You can take the recommendations given based on your values and resources to the attorney. The Elder Law attorney can then have that interjected into your legal plans. Designate two or three people to name as possible Health Care Advocates for you. Should you not be able to make health care decisions it’s nice to know a trusted person is “in charge”.
An Aging Life Care Professional expert will follow their client from diagnosis and through every change and transition. Becoming a personalized advocate to be on call 24/7 for the changes that might be experienced.
Many individuals do very well with Parkinson’s for many years before having to bring in care or move to supportive living communities. Others will advance more quickly. It is important to start planning early in this process.
It is important with any progressive illness to focus on a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise 30 minutes a day and eat a healthy diet; consult with a nutritionist who specializes in individuals with Parkinson’s. Stay socially engaged – isolation will shorten your life and contribute to depression.
To find a professional navigator, an Aging Life Care Professional, CLICK HERE. These are professionals, usually with advanced degrees in Social Work, Nursing, Counseling, Gerontology and related fields. Those who are Advanced Practice have additional certifications as a Professional Care Manager. Easing the Journey of Parkinson’s with the Help of an Aging Life Care Professional can greatly lessen the stress and anxiety for you and your loved one.