PDF Offers Free Online Program to Help Parkinson’s Patients’ Caregivers

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by Ana de Barros, PhD |

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The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) is marking this year’s National Family Caregivers Month by offering a set of free resources to address the unmet needs reported by care partners of Parkinson’s disease patients.

PDF is a division of the Parkinson’s Foundation, formed recently by a merger of PDF and the National Parkinson Foundation. The mission of the new organization is to invest in promising research that aims to end Parkinson’s and improve the lives of patients and their families.

“At PDF, we often talk about mobilizing a team — in the research, health and patient communities — to help us end Parkinson’s. But without care partners, our work would be impossible,” Robin Anthony Elliott, PDF’s chief executive officer, said in a press release. “Their efforts to improve the health and well-being of people with Parkinson’s and advance the cure cannot be underestimated.”

The annual caregiving online seminar will focus on the topic of planning for the future. It is titled “Parkinson’s Disease: Financial, Legal and Medical Planning Tips for Care Partners.” PDF is inviting care partners and their loved ones with Parkinson’s to attend the online event, which will be led by Martin M. Shenkman, founder of Shenkman Law,. It begins at 1 p.m. EST Nov. 8.

The webinar is designed to offer practical steps to help caregivers set up a plan for the future, and also includes the opportunity for qualifying medical professionals to earn continuing education units.

PDF chose the topic purposely to address an unmet need identified in a recent questionnaire, in which most respondents who said they were the primary caregivers of their loved ones with Parkinson’s disease reported receiving little to no help with their “task.”

When asked in what way they could benefit from greater support, resource availability or education, most said stress management related to caregiving was high on their concern list, citing medical questions and dealing with insurance and legal issues as being particularly stressful topics.

“The lives of Parkinson’s care partners are forever changed by this disease,” added Leslie Peters, of Colorado Springs, Colo., a member of the PDF People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council who was a care partner to her late mother-in-law, and whose husband also is a Parkinson’s patient. “Oftentimes, care partners are so focused on supporting our loved ones that our own needs go unaddressed. PDF is here to make sure that doesn’t happen. I urge my fellow care partners to turn to PDF for information, support and resources to help ease the journey,” Peters said.

People living with Parkinson’s disease are expected to double by 2030. To support this growing population, PDF offers programming and services for care partners, including a helpline (800) 457-6676 (interpreters available in 200 languages), an online seminar held during National Family Caregivers Month and other print educational resources, available at PDF’s online library for free (upon request).

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