This story is part of an ongoing educational series presented by the Good Samaritan Society addressing Parkinson's disease and those who live with it.
The Parkinson’s disease (PD) journey is one that will involve not only the individual diagnosed with PD, but his or her entire 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 are equipped with a basic understanding of what a PD diagnosis means.
In order to best utilize your network, it will be helpful to create a plan and consider the most effective methods of communication. Be sure to make specific requests. It is also good to keep in mind scheduling, time constraints and a back-up plan.
Below are helpful considerations for coping with a Parkinson’s diagnosis.
Create a plan:
As with any challenge, life is easier with a solid plan. Putting a plan in place will no doubt vary from situation to situation, but here are some ideas:
- Safety proof your house. De-clutter to reduce the risk of tripping and falls. If grab bars would be helpful in the bathroom, make sure they are securely installed.
- Create a calendar. This can be shared by caregivers, family members and anyone else. Place medication reminders and doctor’s appointments on this calendar. Keep it updated as things change.
- Formulate 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 diagnosis. Participating in an exercise routine 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 foundation of relief.
View the infographic below for ideas on exercises to help ease the effects of Parkinson's. Consider printing and sharing this information with the caregivers and family members in your life.
Live your life but plan ahead:
Go out and live your life. There is no advantage to staying inside and hiding under the covers. Continue participating in enjoyable activities as long as you are able and it is safe to do so.
This is a good time to start planning for the future. Pinpoint legal and financial issues. These would include household and medical expenses. But also a potential long-term care stay. If there is no power of attorney in place, start thinking of who would fill that role.
At some point, it may be necessary to seek guidance from outside help. When that time comes, you may feel overwhelmed. The important thing to remember is that help is out there.