My beautiful, wonderful, 6 foot tall, 84 year old battle-axe of a Grandma has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's. She is the pillar of the family and can see her independence slipping away. It has been emotional for all of us, on the occasions I've been able to visit (I live abroad so visits aren't easy) I've had to hide in the spare room and cry my heart out in secret.
She is dealing with it well every now and then, but recently depression has set in and in our regular telephone calls it's as if she just isn't there anymore. Up to this point we've been able to deal with it in humour - we call her Shakin' Stevens and clink our glasses together if her shakes get bad while eating/drinking.
She is becoming extremely paranoid in public, convinced everyone is watching her spilling her tea - it doesn't matter how much we tell her noon else cares as they are too lost in their own thoughts.
Please can you share with me how you support your family members who are also suffering from this frustrating disease? I want to make sure my Grandma knows how much she is loved, but I don't want to patronise her or make her feel like I'm trying to take over and relinquishing her control. We thought maybe about her attending some Parkinson's support groups, but did think that she'd see this as a bad thing, particularly if she saw someone worse off than herself. She would wish them better but then be living in fear of the same thing happening.
She is a family inspiration and worshiped by us all. I don't want to go in all gung ho. I want to get it just right. any help/advice/kind words would be very appreciated!