Care Partners Need Tools Too

Tools for Care Partners

As a caregiver, you are providing a valued and invaluable service to your loved one. You didn’t ask for it, but suddenly or gradually, here you are.

Recently I was able to co-host a breakout session with Mary Willis that was entitled Tools for the Caregiver. Mary took care of her parents who both had Parkinson's, and lost her husband to cancer. She is a hospital administrator in Palm Springs.

As a cyclist, I ruminated on the various tools required to keep a bike finely tuned. A spoke wrench. A chain tool. A crescent wrench. What tools keep the caregiver on the road and functioning at a high level? Mary and I touched on the following points by way of introduction to the topic:

Tools for Care Partners:

  • Keep it upbeat. Be optimistic, keep it fun and don’t dwell in the negative.
  • Care. You can’t always give, but you should always strive to care.
  • Time. Take time for yourself. Get enough rest.
  • Time out. Take a time out when you become frustrated or angry. Resist the temptation to say something you will regret. Keep your dialogue positive and constructive.
  • Calendar. Aid with planning and scheduling. Post the calendar in an obvious place.
  • Advocate. Study, research, and ask questions. Knowledge is power.
  • Communicate. Keep the communication lines open with your loved one and the full medical/support team.
  • Ride share. Caregivers must assist in organizing rides whenever feasible.
  • Enable. Continue to encourage self-reliance and independence.
  • Exercise. You both need it every day – whether together or apart.

get the every victory counts manual for care partners

Do you have the Every Victory Counts Manual for Care Partners! Released in 2021, this resource is available at no cost in print and digital versions. To learn more and request your copy, click here.

Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter-PhinneyConnie Carpenter Phinney has two children with her husband Davis Phinney, Taylor and Kelsey. As a board member of the Davis Phinney Foundation, Connie helps to inform and create awareness that will help others in the Parkinson's community, especially care partners. Here, she shares her personal tips for spouses and children who are partners in care for someone living with Parkinson’s.

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Comments (2)

Looking for a good book to give a male caregiver who is reluctant to counseling or demonstrating compassion but clearly angry.
Thanks in advance, ~Kristin in Colorado

Hi Kristin,
Thank you for reading. This is a difficult situation. As much as we’d like to hope that we can change someone’s mindset, if they aren’t interested in doing so, there aren’t many recommendations or suggestions that are likely to move them. There are many good books about Parkinson’s caregiving and caregiving in general; however, this one might be a good place to start: Best of luck.

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