What is the weakest link in human relationships? Most often, it is communication; the lack thereof or misunderstanding what is being communicated to us. Keeping open, honest and respectful communication between Parkinson’s patients, their caregivers and loved ones is vital to navigating the journey with PD.
How do we communicate better when adjusting to a new diagnosis of PD and its many transitions? Most importantly, both caregiver and patient need to maintain their respect for each other both as people and for where each other is in coping with what is happening. Understanding where each other is in the coping process furthers our ability to comprehend the communication we receive and helps decrease the chance of misunderstanding.
Another very important piece to keeping our communication helpful is recognizing when we are not on the same page with each other and sitting down to talk before it becomes a point of tension. Whenever we need to make major decisions together, my fiancé and I set a time to sit and discuss the matter. We also set a ground rule before our discussion. That rule? We are on the same side.
The same goes for the relationship between patient and caregiver. You are on the same side; the goal remains the same regardless of the specifics: the best quality of life for both of you!