A family member who is taking care of a patient with Parkinson's disease can feel considerable strain over time, even when the disease is mild. Healthcare providers should screen caregivers for distress before it becomes overwhelming.


Risk factors for strain in a caregiver:

(1) inadequate sleep (poor quality, short duration, etc) with associated fatigue

(2) muscle and physical strains

(3) headache and other pains

(4) distress because of the patient's condition

(5) depression and anxiety

(6) social isolation

(7) lack of support


Risk factors related to the patient with Parkinson's disease:

(1) longer duration of disease (partially correlated with disease severity and partially with the commitment made by the caregiver)

(2) more severe disease with greater disability that places more demands on the caregiver

(3) motor dysfunction and/or motor complications

(4) cognitive problems (impaired memory and/or slowness of thought)

(5) hallucinations and other psychiatric problems

(6) sleep disturbances


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