It’s official, New Year’s has come and gone and it is undeniably 2011. Three days into the year seems like a reasonable point at which to begin making resolutions on how to live well with Parkinson’s disease for the next 362 days and well beyond. Here are just a couple of suggestions:
1. Resolve to keep moving! Exercise is very important for people with Parkinson’s as medications can help tell your body to move, but they can’t do the work for it. Run, walk, swim, dance, do yoga or tai chi, chair exercises – whatever you are able to do, dedicate time each day to doing it. Not sure how much you can safely do? Talk to your neurologist or ask for a referral to a physical therapist.
2. Resolve to take medications on time! If you have trouble remembering what time to take your pills, or which pills to take when, invest in a timer. There are pill boxes with built in timers and watches that can be programmed with your medication. Check with the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego or your local Information & Referral Center for recommendations.
3. Resolve to be prepared for appointments! Whether you are going to your neurologist, your primary care physician, your ophthalmologist, or any other health care professional, you will likely need to have a complete list of medications (including OTC and supplements) with you. Before you go, make a note of any new symptoms or problems (even if they seem unrelated to the professional you are seeing) and have a list prepared of the questions you have.
4. Resolve to stay involved! Socialization is a challenge for some people with Parkinson’s, but is so important as a way of preventing isolation and depression. Plan to see family members and neighbors frequently. Participate in an art class, attend religious services, join a book club. Go to a Parkinson’s support group or an exercise class that meets regularly. Keep in touch with the world outside your home.
As 2011 takes hold, it is important to remember that Parkinson’s is just a part of your life, but it is not your entire life. Yes, it can definitely make things challenging and change the course of life you had envisioned, but it does not change who you are.
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2011!