Once a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease is made, it is important to develop an understanding of the disease and the affects it has on the body. Every patient handles the diagnosis differently, but maintaining a positive attitude is one of the healthiest things to do for yourself and your family. Develop an advisory team made up of physicians, family members, friends and other healthcare professionals to assist in treatment decisions and lifestyle changes. Effects of the disease such as fatigue and difficulty getting around can make activities of daily living (ADL) more difficult. However,
adding adaptive equipment such as grab bars, wheelchairs, electric beds and handrails to the home can help the patient function more independently. As the disease progresses it is also important to seek help from an agency that specializes in ADL services such as housekeeping, bathing, walking assistance, grocery shopping, and companionship services to help protect the patient from falls.
While there is no known cure for Parkinson’s, medication can relieve many symptoms. Exercise, physical therapy, occupational therapy and a healthy and balanced diet can be helpful in all stages of PD to maintain strength, mobility and independence. As the disease progresses, a physician may adjust medications to help control the symptoms, balance quality-of-Iife issues and decrease the side effects of treatment.
As with any chronic illness, discuss any changes with a physician and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Being proactive is the best way to maintain a level of control over how to adapt to, and manage the disease.