One million Americans have Parkinson’s disease (PD), which means there are also one million caregivers helping them navigate the disease on a daily basis.
But not everyone diagnosed with PD has a caregiver or care partner. Since people can live decades with the disease, caregiver burden and fatigue are quite common.
The Parkinson’s Foundation tries to make life better for those with PD and their caregivers. November is National Family Caregivers Month. While we celebrate these unsung heroes, it’s also a time to offer help and support. We must take the opportunity to raise visibility of the issues caregivers face and make sure they know they are not alone.
On Dec.1, we invite caregivers to the Caregiver Summit / Cumbre Para Cuidadores. This free, day-long event is designed just for care partners and addresses prominent issues, from intimacy to communication and coping strategies. This event is easily accessible. Anyone can participate from home or a satellite location, in English and Spanish.
Whether you care for someone who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s, are adapting to new PD challenges, or have been living with Parkinson’s for a long time, a strong support network is essential for a caregiver’s well-being and for the well-being of their loved one.
We work together as a community to support our caregivers and try to help people find the treatment, care and resources that work for them. Parkinson’s is a disease experienced by the entire family. We believe all caregivers deserve their own support system, dedicated resources and most importantly, hope.
John L. Lehr,