Learn what you can do today to do better and feel better with Parkinson’s disease tomorrow.
“You have Parkinson’s disease.” Sitting in your doctor’s office, hearing these words for the first time changes everything. You may not know much about Parkinson’s disease (PD) or you may be familiar with the disease though a family member or friend and wondering if your future will be similar to theirs. Either way you are now thinking, “so what changes are in store for me, how will this affect my future, or can I do anything that will make a difference in how I feel or progress .”
No one can predict the future. However, each of us can influence our future through the choices we make, attitudes we embrace and information we receive. As the title suggests, this book is written to give you the guidance, support and confidence you need to influence your future and alter the course of your life with Parkinson’s disease.
As clinicians, we have spent almost two decades treating PD with a unique emphasis on both movement disorders and integrative medicine that includes holistic care, personal healing and emphasis on the patient experience. This has provided a lens for which to ‘see’ this condition with a different perspective- one with a focus on what is possible over what is not possible.
This book is not intended to be filled with facts about the disease; there are many books that cover these topics. Instead we have focused on these 2 questions, “does PD present an opportunity in disguise? what information, action steps or attitudes are most helpful early in the disease to set the stage for current and future wellbeing.”
order your copy to alter your course.
Service dogs are specialty trained to help and protect people with vision, hearing, physical and emotional challenges. Some of the earliest and well-known use of service dogs is the use of guide dogs for blind or visually challenged persons. The majority of people with PD use a Mobility Assistance Dog.
Sometimes a special harness is worn by a Mobility Assistance Dog made for pulling objects, such as wheelchairs.
Service dogs can help a person with Parkinson’s disease in many ways. Here are just a few of the ways:
- Help with physical tasks around the house such as turning on light switches, opening and closing doors, picking up objects.
- Assist with walking by helping with balance, act as a support or help a person get up.
- Hold a person up if they are dizzy.
- Overcome freezing of gait. This can be done by clearing the way in crowded areas, by using gentle pressure on a person’s leg or leading a person away from a hectic and stressful area that can exacerbate freezing.
- Exert a calming effect at times of stress and anxiety
Remember these are service dogs and not pets nor a guard dog. They are wonderful and amazing animals that can help you live better. Contact the following sources for more information:
Assistance Dogs International http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/. This site offers information on service dogs with FAQ.
Paws with a cause. https://www.pawswithacause.org/what-we-do/service-dogs. This site offers general information.
Nationwide Assistance Dog Group and Training Listing. http://landofpuregold.com/service-groups.htm. This site lists training and service dog programs by state.
Please tell us how your service dog helps you or share your experience in obtaining one by replying to this post.
Tom Isaacs age 44 carries the olympic through Welwyn Garden City today. With each step he will raise awareness about Parkinson’s and inspire others with his positive message, humour, inspiration and courage for people living with Parkinson’s disease and other chronic conditions.
I am reminded of so many people with Parkinson’s that I have met along the way as I reflect on the Olympics and the stories of amazing athlete’s pushing their bodies and minds to the limit of human performance. People with Parkinson’s that meet challenge with strength and courage.
Marathoners, photographers, mountain climbers, journalists, poets, artists, dancers, quilters, motivational speakers, support group leaders to name a few- people with Parkinson’s that choose to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others.
Music is good for us and good for our brains. Neurobiologist, Dr. Larry Sherman reviewed the benefits of music and the lasting effects of music on our brain chemistry, structure and neural connections. Music helps people with Parkinson’s move, improves freezing, enhances mood, sense of well-being, creativity and connects us to our world and each other. Sing, dance, pick up an instrument and increase your brain’s potential today.
Presentation by Dr. Larry Sherman at the Bing Lounge in Portland. Here is the link:
Learn more about music therapy and Parkinson’s disease
A physical therapist (PT) can help improve balance, flexibility, coordination and strength. A PT will work with you PD symptoms to find the best exercise program for your movement and pain. There are two parts to this question: 1. Finding the right therapist and 2. How to stay motivated? The following tips may help:
Finding the right physical therapist (PT) can be difficult.
- Ask your neurologist for the name of a PT in your area that specializes in movement problems from brain conditions
- Call your community hospital’s rehabilitation department and if their therapists are trained as neurology specialist or if they have an active PT program for stroke (although a different condition does require specific knowledge of movement and brain function)
- Interview your therapist on day one to be sure their style, goals and how these goals will be achieved match yours.
- Ask people in support groups about PTs that worked for them
How do I stay motivated after PT? The problem lies in the fact that PT can not continue indefinitely. Medical insurance such as Medicare clearly states that PT sessions must be oriented toward specific and attainable goals. Once these goals are met a person must be discharged from therapy. This is true even if a person does better in therapy but declines once therapy is complete.
- You can continue with a PT one on one after discharge but will likely be charged for the service.
- You can ask the therapist for a group of exercises for you to get started with a personal trainer. You can find personal trainers in many places including the YMCA, Senior Centers or your local gym. Be sure to ask your trainer how much experience they have with your condition.
- Call your community hospital help line for more recommendations
- Consider joining a class at your local community center. Dance, Yoga, Tai chi or even chair exercises can help
- Look for other specialists such as yoga therapists or Feldenkrais instructors that can be of help
- Always get approval from you doctor before beginning a new program
Learn more about these topics on the Wellness Center. Help others and share what works for you by commenting to this post.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to others just diagnosed with Parkinson’s?
There is no doubt about it, getting a diagnosis of Parkinson’s can be life changing. People respond in different ways. Some seek out as much information about the disease as possible or take to the internet to find out about the latest treatment. Some people find comfort in support groups while others keep their diagnosis to themselves. A pledge to exercise more or eat healthier is the focus of many.
Think back to the time when you were diagnosed. What worked for you (or didn’t)? What advice do you wish that you were given? What advice would you give to others? How have your ideas about Parkinson’s changed over time. Share your own experience, advice and wisdom with people just recently diagnosed and with PDCommunity! by responding to this post.