Activity Planning When Caring for Someone With Parkinson's Disease
Even if they do not have dementia, some people with Parkinson disease may have a lack of interest. They tend to withdraw socially as the disease progresses. Parkinson symptoms that can lead a person to withdraw from normal activities and interaction include--
- freezing (a walking, or gait, problem where feet seem to be "stuck" to the floor)
- frequent falls or fear of falling
- dysarthria (low voice volume)
- slowness of thinking
In these cases, it may be useful for the spouse or other primary caregiver to step into the role of "activity director" for the person with Parkinson's disease.
A daily plan can give form and meaning to the person's time and provide an outlet for his or her energy. If possible, the person with PD should personally draw up the plan. If he or she can type or use a computer, writing a plan provides mental and social stimulation and is good exercise of fine-motor skills.
The daily activity plan of Allen--a 74-year-old man who has had Parkinson disease for 14 years--is a sample plan that he says helps him "stay on track."
- Get up at 7 a.m.; remember to use the cane to walk to the toilet.
- Take first daily dose of Parkinson medication with 1/2 glass water.
- Get the newspaper, prepare coffee, and eat breakfast.
- Brush teeth, shave, shower, and dress.
- Watch morning news show on television.
- Do stretching and strengthening exercises.
- Perform household or yard chores.
- Run errands as scheduled.
- Take second dose of medication prior to lunch.
Midday and Afternoon
- Have lunch at nearby cafe.
- Walk the dog outside for 20 minutes or ride exercise bike.
- Take a 45-minute nap.
- Eat a piece of fruit or other snack.
- Community activity (senior center, volunteer work, support group).
- Phone a friend or mail a card to someone out-of-town.
- Take third dose of medication prior to evening meal.
- Watch early news and weather on TV.
- Have dinner at home or with friends.
- Choose a relaxing activity, such as seeing a movie, playing a computer game, or working a crossword puzzle.
- Lay out clothes for following day.
- Take bedtime dose of medications.
- Listen to relaxing music while preparing for bed.