Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement, balance, and coordination. It is a type of movement disorder that can affect the ability to perform common, daily activities. There are an estimated 1 million Americans living with Parkinson’s disease and more than 10 million people worldwide. Watching a loved one struggle with this disease can be incredibly difficult, and coping with their loss can be even more challenging.
Here are some ways to cope with grief when a loved one has Parkinson’s disease:
First and foremost, it's important to allow yourself to grieve. You may experience grief while your loved one is alive as you watch them struggle and then again after they pass. Grief is a natural and normal response to loss, and it's important to give yourself permission to experience a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, guilt, and loneliness. Don't try to rush the grieving process or push yourself to "get over it" too quickly. Everyone grieves in their own way and on their own timeline.
Seek support from others. This might include talking to friends and family members, joining a support group for people who have loved ones with Parkinson's disease, or seeing a therapist. Talking about your feelings and experiences can help you process your grief and find a sense of connection with others who understand what you're going through.
Engaging in self-care activities can also be helpful when coping with grief. This might include exercise, meditation, journaling, or spending time in nature. Taking care of your physical and emotional health can help you feel more grounded and resilient during this difficult time.
Finally, it's important to find ways to honor and remember your loved one. This might include creating a memorial or tribute, volunteering for a Parkinson's disease organization, or participating in an activity that your loved one enjoyed. Finding ways to keep your loved one's memory alive can help you feel connected to them and find meaning in your loss.
Losing a loved one to Parkinson's disease can be incredibly painful, but there are strategies for coping with grief that can help. The strategies above can help you begin to navigate this difficult experience and find a sense of peace and healing.
It can be empowering for patients who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease to make their end-of-life wishes known early in the disease progression. This can be done by creating an advance directive and establishing a durable power of attorney to ensure their healthcare wishes are followed and by discussing their funeral arrangements. If you or someone you love would like to get started planning a funeral, please reach out to our funeral home. We are always here to assist you.
For more information on Parkinson’s Disease you can visit the American Parkinson Disease Association: www.apdaparkinson.org