Is It Safe to Care for Parkinson’s Dementia Patients at Home?

Author: Lauren Greaves

Reviewed By: Catherine Braxton

Yes, it is safe to care for Parkinson’s dementia patients at home. However, it’s important to consider the challenges that come with caring for a loved one with a neurodegenerative disorder. While families may prefer in-home care to maintain familiar surroundings and routines, your loved one’s safety and well-being are the top priority.

Understanding the Challenges of Parkinson’s Dementia

As of 2024, Parkinson’s disease impacts nearly one million people living in the U.S., and that number is expected to increase to 1.2 million by 2030. Due to its progressive nature, Parkinson’s disease presents unique challenges. While the condition is largely defined by changes in motor control, such as tremors and slow movement, mild cognitive changes often occur as the disease advances. In fact, up to 80% of individuals with Parkinson’s develop dementia symptoms. These may include issues with memory recall, attention span, anxiety and decision-making. 

Addressing factors such as mobility limitations, cognitive impairments, medication management and safety hazards remains crucial in creating a conducive caregiving environment.

Strategies for Effective Home Care Management

Providing care for a Parkinson’s dementia patient at home requires a comprehensive approach. When making decisions about care, you should consult with your loved one’s physicians and health care professionals with specific knowledge about Parkinson’s disease. Together, you can develop a suitable plan of care that considers your loved one’s physical, emotional and environmental needs.

Assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing and toileting, may be necessary. Individuals with Parkinson’s often have complex medication regimens. Caregivers need to work closely with their loved one’s physician to ensure proper administration and adherence to medication schedules. Caregivers also play a vital role in providing emotional support and companionship. Patience, empathy and the ability to provide meaningful redirection for your loved one in moments of forgetfulness remain crucial.

Home safety modifications may be necessary. Evaluate the home for potential hazards that could lead to falls and accidents. This may include ensuring adequate lighting, removing tripping hazards, adding safety locks and installing grab bars. You may consider adding visual cues, such as labels and to-do lists, that offer direction and promote independence.

Transitioning to Special Care: When Is It Necessary?

When dealing with Parkinson’s dementia, family members should explore all options to make the decision that’s best for their loved one’s safety, well-being and quality of life. In some cases, the progression of Parkinson’s dementia may necessitate transitioning to a residential care setting, such as a nursing home or memory care facility. These settings have the staffing and programming in place to provide around-the-clock supervision and specialized dementia care.

Caregiving can be physically and emotionally demanding. Arranging for outside help, such as respite care, provides an opportunity for rest and self-care. For information and support, the Parkinson’s Foundation provides a range of free resources and can guide you to local support groups and services.