Parkinson's disease. It's a shattering diagnosis for seniors and their families. When help is needed, the Home Instead Senior Care® franchises in Winchester, Virginia, and Martinsburg, West Virginia, offer the services of CAREGivers who are familiar with specialized care for the progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement.
In addition to employing experienced and skilled CAREGivers, the two award-winning Home Instead franchises also offer ongoing CAREGiver training classes for Parkinson's care.
During Winchester CAREGiver of the Month Corinne DiSchiavi's five years with Home Instead Senior Care in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, she worked with a number of Parkinson's clients. She continues to assist Parkinson's clients in Winchester. She has seen the familiar symptoms: tremors, slowed movement that makes simple tasks difficult and time-consuming, rigid muscles, impaired posture and balance, loss of automatic movements, and speech and writing changes.
"Assisting Parkinson's clients is a great endeavor for me. I am passionate about helping, and each case is a little different. I observe their journey with Parkinson's and try to inspire them," said Corinne, a Winchester native who's been with the Winchester franchise three years.
A 90-year-old client wanted to continue to walk, and he told Corinne: "Please help me. Don't let me become unable to walk on my own." Corinne reassured the client by replying, "I believe in you. You will have good days and bad days. We'll take each day as it comes."
Corinne makes this promise to each client: "I won't let them give up."
She helped a Parkinson's client in Pennsylvania for two years before he passed away. The client had been afflicted with Parkinson's for more than 30 years. Recalling her attempts to help change the client's perspective by simply taking him out of the house, Corinne said: "I wheeled him into the backyard in his wheelchair. Doing anything outdoors helped his attitude. He used to play baseball, so we played catch with such things as a balloon. We played cards. He cracked crab legs. We kept each other entertained."
Corinne, who also was a CAREGiver of the Month at the Pennsylvania franchise, has empathy for the clients' families: "I support them in every way I can." In Mechanicsburg, Corinne was asked to speak at a Parkinson's support group that was started by a client's daughter. "I walked the families through the progression of care. Sometimes it's not the easiest thing for them to do if a CAREGiver isn't there with their senior loved one, but I tried to support them with the knowledge and tips from the experience I had," Corinne said.
Corinne pointed out that Parkinson's and Lewy body dementia often go hand in hand. "So," she said, "there can be hallucinations. There can be triggers like TV shows and specific conversations. It's good to find out and avoid things that set thoughts and images into motion."
Above all, Corinne offered five important attitudes of care: Compassion, patience, persistence, consistency and optimism.
Home Instead CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, provide a variety of in-home support services to help keep seniors independent. For employment inquiries in Winchester, Virginia, apply here or call (540) 904-1190. Or, for more information, visit our website. For employment inquiries in Martinsburg, West Virginia, apply here or call (304) 301-3896. Or, for more information, visit our website.
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