Category Archives: caretaking

The Gold Standard of Caretaking

A surprising number of persons diagnosed with Parkinson’s have spent their entire life caretaking others rather than taking care of themselves.  Friends and family alike become familiar with the “always available and reliable” caretaker of the family who is too often you!

Since caretaking is such a huge issue for persons traveling down the road to recovery, here are critical rules of caretaking to always keep close to your chest.

  1. Always – day in and day out – give to yourself the same care and attention that you give to others.  This is the number one rule for a reason. Most caretakers violate it all the time.
  2. You are not an endless resource for others to take advantage of anytime of the day or night. When you are not taking good care of yourself, you can be of little help to others. Why?
    • Your energy will deplete.
    • Your health will deteriorate.
    • You will resent taking care of others.
  3. Your needs will be different from your family and friends.
  4. You do not need to feel guilty about saying “no” to requests for assistance.
  5.  Taking time for unwinding is time well spent. How do you best unwind? (Note the question is not how should you unwind or how do others unwind.) What helps you relax, chill out and have fun? Do it.
    • Not occasionally.
    • Every day.
  6. You are not being selfish by taking time every day for yourself and only yourself. If you do not take time out of every day for yourself, you will do a lousy job when you are caretaking family and friends.

In summary, once a caretaker, always a caretaker. The recommendation here is simple: Just be a top notch caretaker of yourself.

Robert Rodgers PhD
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease

Urinary Retention and Parkinson’s Disease


I’m reaching out to you today because my father’s Parkinson’s disease is taking a major toll on my mother’s health (his only caregiver) and I need your help. Among the many issues, the main one that my mothers struggles with is when my father wakes up two to three times per night to use the bathroom. My mother has to wake up and help him. I’ve taken care of him many times before and I’ve noticed that while he has the intense urge to go, he doesn’t actually urinate very much. My mother has a full time job and at the age of 63 she is beginning to wear down and become very tired and depressed.

Please, do you have any idea what can be done about this?

I would really appreciate any help!!




Thanks for sending in your question. What a formidable problem you present! In one small paragraph, many issues present themselves. It sounds like your question pertains more to a concern about your mother’s overall health than your father’s PD. Let me first address your mother’s challenge.

I am guessing that your Mom has been sucked into (virtually) full time caretaking (aside from some relief you and perhaps other siblings provide). The job of the sick person is to take the energy from people who are well. Your father is doing his job very well indeed it appears.

The most important job of the caretaker is to take care of themselves.What is your mother doing for herself? She needs time to do what she loves doing. She needs time away from taking care of your Dad. I am of course guessing here – but she probably thinks to herself –

Who else is here to take care of him?

The best answer to this question is another question:

To what extent is your day taking care of himself?

You are asking about a medical challenge your father is facing -  but your father is not writing in about his problem. Has he resigned himself to a dismal fate of continuing ill health and disease? If this is the case, he is sure to manifest his expectation. And if that is the case, your mother is enabling this expectation.

If your Dad is not willing to take care of himself – why should anyone else step up to the plate and assume that role for him? That just dis-empowers him. He will be able to do less and less as the weeks unfold.

People with Parkinson’s who get worse refuse to do anything for themselves other than do what they are told. People who get well insist on taking care of themselves. They experiment. They do research. They try out new therapies.

In my opinion, your Mom needs to begin taking huge chunks of time out for herself. She may be amazed to discover how much your Dad can do for himself when he is challenged to do so. I can assure you that your Dad does not want to make your Mom sick. The best gift she can give to him is to stay healthy. The only way to accomplish this is to break away from him and take time out for herself.

As for the more immediate problem of night time visits to the bathroom…the question turns on what is causing the problem.  What is his body trying to tell him? Here is where naturopaths are wonderful assets. Once the problem has been identified – it can be remedied. The body always knows how to heal itself. Possibilities include:

  • Side effects of medications he takes
  • Dehydration of the tissues (he drinks less because he thinks that will make him pee less)
  • Insufficiency of certain minerals (like magnesium, etc.)
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Inflammation
  • Other?

The problem may be related to the deterioration of your Dad’s neurological system.  When a cup or so of urine has collected into your Dad’s bladder, a signal is triggered from from the physical expansion of the bladder that travels through the nerves located in the bladder wall. This signaling cue is transmitted to nerves in the spinal cord and the brain. The brain in turn sends a signal that contracts the bladder wall and relaxes the sphincter muscle.

As your Dad is able to reverse the neurological damage (if he chooses to do so), it is likely that this signaling system can come back on line.

The solution depends on the cause. Can it be solved? Of course! I interview naturopaths all the time on my radio program who are incredible resources. If there is not one near where you live, you can get help from one of the naturopaths I have interviewed on a long distance basis. You can get to know the naturopaths through my radio program at:

Does your father want this night time problem to be solved? If he does,what is he doing about it? Or, is this really just a problem for your Mom?

The hardest challenge for a son who loves his parents is to honor whatever choices they make. Perhaps your Dad will not take any positive action to help himself recover. As his son, your job is to honor and accept his decision.

Perhaps your Mom will insist on taking care of him to the detriment of her own health. As her son, your job is to honor and accept her decision.

We all get to depart this earth in our own way and time. Who is to say their choices are wrong for them?

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Parkinsons Recovery

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Meditations for Parkinsons

Who Can Attend Jump Start to Wellness?


Can those of us who take care of someone with Parkinson’s attend Jump Start even if we attend alone – without the one we care for?


Most certainly yes! Jump Start to Wellness is as much for the people who are caretakers as it is for persons who have the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Sign up. Attend with a friend who gets to come for free. The work we will be doing is transformative.

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Parkinsons Recovery


Meditation and Fibromyalgia

This interview addresses one approach that helps caretakers, meditation. In this interview with a couple, the wife Carolyn has chronic fibromyalgia, the husband John is the caretaker. John will talk about how meditation helps him in his role as caretaker.

Carolyn’s illness here is not Parkinsons, but I thought many people, especially caretakers, would be interested in listening to the discussion. Find information below.  

EVENT:  How Meditations Helps with Illness and Caretaking
DATE & TIME: Friday, May 1st at 10:00am Pacific
FORMAT: Simulcast! (Attend via Phone or Webcast — it’s your choice)


John Wiley and Carolyn Milling have been married over twenty years and live in Bellingham, WA.  Carolyn, an artist and retired mental health worker, has struggled with fibromyalgia for many years.  At time the pain is incapacitating. 

John, a psychotherapist, has practiced Zen meditation for 15 years, and the difference this has made in ability to be more caring and compassionate towards his wife’s pain and illness is amazing according to Carolyn. 

Together they will speak with us about this wonderful transformation.

Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
Parkinsons Recovery