I’m 4 years into the parkinson’s nightmare, significant lefthand tremor, typical gait and facial mask. Still working full time but i’m not sure how, very understanding employer. Just had first grandchild. I’ve never been good with babies apart from my own but now I feel useless. Holding him is incredibly difficult, when he wriggles I can’t respond and he soon gets uncomfortable and cries them I freeze and can’t put him down. Even holding him while I’m sitting is difficult. As a result I avoid contact so am finding it difficult to foster a relationship. Friends and neighbours pick him up and play with him while i stay in the shadows. My daughter lives a long way away so visits are infrequent. Couldn’t find any other threads relating to this but could do with a chat with battling with the same problem. Or maybe I’m just a bad grandpa.
First of all, you’re definitely not a bad grandpa, I can tell by your post that you love your grandson very much. As I’m sure you know, tremor is one of the main symptoms of Parkinson’s alongside slowness of movement and stiffness. Exercise is a great way to manage your symptoms and may help with your movement. There are loads of different forms of exercise that you can get involved in - please visit our website for more information here - https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/information-and-support/exercise.
You may also want to consider seeing a physiotherapist to help you with everyday movements. I hope you find this practical advice helpful and I’m sure you’ll hear from other members soon with more supportive advice.
Do take care.
Hi @klatrer, I also struggle a bit with looking after my grandchildren (I have a grandson who is 2, a granddaughter of 5 months and a grandson of 3 months). I can hold the babies but if my daughter asks me to help dress the 2 year old when she is feeding the baby I really struggle with small buttons etc.
I think you’ll probably find it easier when the baby gets mobile as you can then interact more without needing to do much physically. Also it’s easier when they can understand so you can explain why you can’t do some things. My grandson is quite accepting that I can’t give him his vitamins (in a spoon) because my hands shake to much and will happily tell other people “mummy has to give me my vitamins because grandma can’t do it”.
I really feel for you and sense the pain of not being able to hold your grandson, and the distress that doing so causes you both. Physical contact is undoubtably such an important part of most relationships, but holding a child is only one way of having it. Is it possible for you to lie alongside him, or have him propped up beside you on a chair or sofa whilst you play with his fingers, stroke his head etc.
Your presence and in particular your facial expressions will also be very powerful and engaging of such a young child, and it is important to bear in mind that too much physical contact can be overwhelming. . People are often very keen to engage with little ones by holding them ( often for the adult’s enjoyment rather than the child’s) bouncing.them, jigging them about , making faces/ noises etc, which are all well and good in proportion and in response to a child’s needs and reactions. Alongside all of this activity and stimulation, your quiet, gentle presence may be a hugely valuable addition to your grandson’s experience of adults and the world around him.
Please don’t back off from him and think that other people are doing it better than you. You have such an important role in your grandson’s life that no one else can fill.
I have just read you message and it pulled a cord, just like so many of experiences shared on here. I went through the same challenges and it took some real strength from within to work through it. Firstly the most important thing is safety for you all. This was in the back of my mind all the time when thinking about tasks with my little grandson. I knew the first couple of years would need some adjustments of my own thinking etc. Each time I visited I pulled on my own experiences of being a mum and now as a granny. There was so much laughter and my daughter trusted me with tasks which helped me massively gain my confidence, physical strength and overall well-being. Most of the time I did things on the sofa, floor etc. Most of the time I put Parkinson’s out of my head and think of nicer things, it helps and let’s me be in the day rather than worrying about being in it, if you can relate. Grandparents are gifts, and you sound like a lovely one too. It will all work out, trust your instincts. Big hug