Leading-Edge Caregiver Training to Support Clients with Parkinson's Disease
With Parkinson’s disease on the rise, Sandra and Troy Turner, owners of Right at Home Merrillville, Indiana, are partnering with the Parkinson’s Foundation to provide ongoing training for Right at Home’s entire caregiving staff. This training will help improve care and support for Right at Home clients with Parkinson’s and their families.
Parkinson’s disease is the second-leading neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Today, 1 million people live with Parkinson’s disease in the United States, and that number is expected to increase by 20% by 2030, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.
“At Right at Home, we have experience caring for people with all types of dementia and understand the unique challenges that affect those with Parkinson’s,” stated Troy. “This training provides more in-depth instruction and additional tools to help our caregivers deliver the client-centered care required to assist those with Parkinson’s.”
Right at Home Merrillville, Indiana, is one of five Right at Home locations that have already begun implementing the new Parkinson’s Foundation training program, Community Partners in Parkinson’s Care, designed for senior living communities and home care agencies. The new program was announced in January 2022 and requires a minimum of 70% of all care staff to complete the training.
Sandra and Troy attended two full days of instruction. In turn, they are training their entire care team. Training covers aspects of the disease, how the disease affects movement, cues for support, assistance with daily living tasks, and changes in communication and thinking.
Sandra states that while more than 50% of their clientele have Parkinson’s or dementia, this training provides guidance to help everyone they serve. In particular, the program emphasizes medication timing and persistent patience.
Many people need medication reminders, but for those with Parkinson’s, the person must receive medication within a 10-minute window of the scheduled time. Caregivers set alarms on their cellphones to ensure the client adheres to their health care provider’s care plan. Caregivers also respond to any changes in the client’s condition and report the changes to the family — this practice is carried out for all clients.
The training also stresses patience and healthy persistence. This is a best practice for any client, but for those with Parkinson’s, it can be just as critical as medication timing. The training provides tools to help caregivers coach clients to stay as active as possible and highlights this key takeaway: “The more you do, the more you can do. The less you do, the less you can do.”
For more than eight years, Right at Home Merrillville, Indiana, has been providing personalized in-home care plans for families looking for care and support for a loved one. Services include companionship, light housekeeping, medication reminders, and assistance with bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting and transportation.
And it is not just about taking care of older adults. Right at Home Merrillville provides respite care to give family caregivers the relief they need. Respite care provided by Right at Home professional caregivers may be scheduled for a few hours a week to 24-hour care.
If a family is considering in-home care services for their loved one with Parkinson’s or dementia, Sandra and Troy recommend choosing an agency that has caregivers who are trained to care for the person’s unique needs. Also, the family should ask the agency whether its caregivers are insured and whether the agency conducts background checks on its caregivers. Most importantly, the family should be able to trust the agency to care for their loved one.