jmgoyder

wings and things

A tip for taking people with Parkinson’s disease out and about

As Anthony’s Parkinson’s disease (diagnosed several years ago now) has worsened, it has become increasingly difficult to take him out, or bring him home from the nursing home. For a few months last year, I relied on the wheelchair taxi because he had become so heavy to manouevre. Then, with some tweaking of his medications (by his specialists and doctors) and with a renewed sense of determination on my part, and special attention to timing, I began again to take him out by myself.

The timing of Parkinson’s disease medications is vital. If Anthony doesn’t get his 11am pill, he is paralysed by noon. The staff at the nursing home have been brilliant at getting this right. This means that if I pick him up for lunch he is able to walk (using a walker) to the car, get in with just a bit of a shove from me, get out again with a 1, 2, 3 pull up from me, walk into a cafe or whatever, eat some cake, and walk (using the walker again) back to the car.

His next scheduled pill for the day is 4pm but I really think it should be 3pm because that is the time that he always begins to falter, with his words, movements etc. so, if he is home, I give it to him early because we have had some extremely difficult situations where I just cannot get him to move his feet at all, let alone walk. I guess we are getting to the stage now where I have to bring both the walker and a wheelchair with us if we go out.

The person who most inspired me to take Anthony out more is Terry at http://terry1954.wordpress.com/

Terry has been looking after her brother, Al for years and Al doesn’t just have PD, he also has MSA (see Terry’s blog for what this is like). Al is now bedridden and on the brink of death with Terry constantly by his side. She has always inspired me in the way she copes with pragmatism and prayer in equal amounts.

But, before Al reached this stage, Terry used to to take him out and about, to his favourite shops and restaurants. I read about these escapades with mixture of delight and admiration, but what really struck me was how much joy this gave Terry herself. She is the person who gave me the impetus to take Anthony out and about more.

And, if I get the timing right, Ants and I can still have a rollicking time (well sort of!) However, here is where Terry and I are different; she took Al to places Al liked to go to (she is unselfish), whereas I now take Anthony to places I like to go (I am selfish).

However, that is my tip: instead of seeing it as a chore to take someone with PD or any other disease out of the nursing home for a bit of a break, think of where YOU would like to go. That way, the outing is transformed from a job into a joy.

Just don’t go to the beach (wheelchairs don’t do well on sand!)

This post is dedicated to Terry and Al.

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