Parkinson's Patient: Caregivers 'Make Me Feel Safe'

Parkinson's Patient: Caregivers 'Make Me Feel Safe'

Dr. Alex Kotch likes to be organized – so he appreciates the routine he worked out with his caregivers.

“I really like the structure. It’s what I wanted,” he said.

Alex, 86, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 16 years ago. For the past three years, he received customized Parkinson’s care, helping him get around his home in his wheelchair. A caregiver comes to his home seven days a week for several hours each day. That includes getting in and out of the bathroom, the shower and even to the sink to brush his teeth.

“They help me get out of bed first,” he said. “They’re always there. I’m not supposed to transfer without one of them. They take me to the doctor – they take me to any place we need to go and they help me get in and out of the car.”

A caregiver also cooks breakfast for Alex and his wife Anne. Sometimes the caregiver also fixes them lunch. The caregivers come to visit both in the morning and the evening.

The presence of Alex’s caregivers, Charles and Sarah, allow Anne to get out of the house on her own for a bit.

“Charles and Sarah make me feel safe,” Alex said. “They make me feel secure in case I might fall. Sometimes they help me walk with a walker. Sometimes they’ll help me just stand.”

The caregivers also help him with his exercises, turning his ankles to work on his range of motion. They continue to get additional support and education from our online University, which provides accredited courses on how to best help those with Parkinson’s disease and deliver the best senior care possible.

Alex is very happy with the choice to get in-home care.

“It’s less expensive. I wouldn’t want to be in an assisted living home. Too many people would take my privacy away. We want to stay in our own home,” he said.

Alex enjoys talking about his history. He and Anne were married 60 years ago while he worked at MIT. He went there after getting a PhD in chemistry in 1950. The two met on a blind date on Friday the 13th. She spoke Dutch so Alex learned it very fast.

“I learned to speak Dutch in six months,” he said proudly.

They ended up in Colorado where Alex became one of the first scientists ever involved with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden.

Now, they are happy that professional in-home care allows him to stay in their home as he deals with the symptoms caused by Parkinson’s.

To learn more about Parkinson’s, visit www.parkinson.org.

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