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My Father Has Parkinson's Disease

Thursday July 30, 2009

Linda Sullivan and Debbie Gitner

The Daily News Tribune - Q: My father has Parkinson's disease. It is becoming more difficult for him to care for himself, yet he is trying to stay as independent as possible. What should I be doing for him?

A: Parkinson's affects fine motor control. Some advice to allow your father to stay as independent as possible is to give him plenty of time to get himself dressed. Do not rush him. Many people with Parkinson's want to maintain their independence for as long as possible and can become angry at the caretaker if they feel they are trying to take over.

Try to purchase sneakers with Velcro closures. Remove buttons on clothes and replace them with Velcro fasteners. Sweat pants are easier to pull up and down.

If speaking is becoming difficult, put together a piece of paper with yes, no, bathroom and other words allowing your father to point to the words.

Contact your father's physician asking for a referral to the Visiting Nurse Association for an occupational therapy consultation. An occupational therapist can evaluate your father and offer other adaptive equipment ideas.

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