Parkinson’s disease is an ever-changing condition, with some good days and some more challenging days. And, unfortunately, today’s not-so-good days may become next month’s good days. Many times it is impossible to predict what the next day may bring, making it difficult to make plans.
One of the best ways to handle these types of changes is, when possible, plan ahead. For instance, if you are taking an airplane, request assistance at the gate in advance. That way, even if you are having a good day, you have eliminated some of the stress that goes with traveling. (This is particularly important if you will be changing flights at any point.) Another suggestion is to make sure you have a handicap placard for your car; if you are having a good day, you don’t need to use it and can get a little extra exercise walking a greater distance, but you have the option to use it if you are having a more challenging day.
Sometimes it is more difficult to plan ahead when you are committing to attending a family event or when you purchase tickets for a sporting event. Decide in advance that you plan on attending regardless of the type of day you are having. Allow some extra time on both sides of the event so you do not feel rushed. If your family and friends are aware of your Parkinson’s diagnosis, be honest with them when you arrive and let them know “today is more challenging, so I may move a little slower or seem a little less like myself.” If you are around strangers, try to allow space for those who are more rushed to pass you; most people are very understanding and patient.
Parkinson’s disease can be a different adventure every day. But, try not to let it drastically change your plans. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to enjoy the things you have planned for. Go out to dinner with friends, attend your niece’s wedding, take that long-planned vacation. Enjoy everyday as much as you can for as long as you can.