The Parkinson’s disease journey affects not only the person diagnosed but also their support system. Family members and friends can play a role in the management and impact of the condition. These people can help the most if they have a basic understanding of what a Parkinson's disease diagnosis means.
To best use your family and social network, create a plan and identify the best ways to connect with your loved ones. Be specific about what you need from them. It is also a good idea to consider scheduling, time constraints and a back-up plan.
If you're coping with a Parkinson's disease diagnosis, keep the below in mind.
Create a plan:
As with any challenge, life is easier with a solid plan. Take these steps to create a plan that fits your lifestyle and diagnosis:
- Make sure your home is safe. Declutter to reduce the risk of tripping or falling. If grab bars or handrails would be helpful in the bathroom, make sure they are securely installed.
- Create a calendar or download a scheduling app. This can be shared by caregivers, family members and others. Place medication reminders and doctor’s appointments on this calendar. Keep it updated as things change.
- Use a daily or weekly routine. This routine would include setting times for meals, scheduled activities, rest periods, exercise and prayer.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle:
It is important to stay active after a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. Exercise routines can help ease muscle stiffness and posture issues, as well as reduce balance, walking and other mobility problems. Exercise is not a cure, but it can provide some symptom relief.
Live your life but plan ahead:Go out and live your life. Keep doing what you enjoy as long as the activities are safe.
This is a good time to start planning for the future. Identify legal and financial issues, including household and medical expenses. If you don't have a power of attorney in place, start thinking of who would fill that role. You may also need to explore long-term care options.