How Parkinson's Disease Affects Every Day Life

In this article we will take a closer look at how Parkinson’s disease affects everyday life and some tips for people diagnosed with the disease to cope with suffering from it. Please note that not everybody is affected the same way. But some difficulties are more common than others.

Mobility

If you’re experiencing mobility difficulties you can try easing your flow inside your house by moving the furniture, buying specialised equipment such as rails and anti-slip bath rugs that can help reduce risk of falling, etc.

‘Freezing’ (also called motor block) is a difficulty that people with Parkinson’s disease encounter often, making them unable to start a movement or continue repeat movements. It mostly affects walking but can also affect speech or writing. There are several tips that can help out when these episodes occur such as counting out loud or stepping over a specific target on the ground. For the last one a laser light pointer or a cane can be used.

Diet

It is important for people suffering from Parkinson’s disease to adjust their diet and eating habits and to plan when to eat and when to take medication since some food may interfere with Parkinson’s treatment.

Moreover, because swallowing difficulties may arise and create weight fluctuation or dietary problems enough time should be allowed for meal time as well as having cold drink to make swallowing more efficient.

Last, constipation is a big problem for people with Parkinson’s disease. Laxatives may help treat the issue. So can increasing fluid and fibre intake and exercise.

Exercise

Exercise is very important for Parkinson’s disease patients since it can help loosen up stiff joints and muscles. By creating an exercise routine one can increase his/her mobility, improve his/her general fitness and reduce stress, anxiety or depression. The Keeping Moving Programme created by The Parkinson’s Disease Society features exercises specially designed in that intention.

Relationships and family life

Parkinson’s disease can take a toll on relationships and family life that may be affected by emotional changes, stress and anxiety, by how each one reacts to the diagnosis or by communication problems caused by the disease. That’s why it is important not to be afraid to reach out for help regarding that matter. Talking to people about the disease, whatever they are family, friends or a support group, finding activities that can be achieved together as well as keeping on socialising can also help cope with these.

What about work and driving?

Concerning work, many people continue to work years after having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease thanks to adjustments made, support from their employers and a carefully managed treatment.

Suffering from Pakinson's disease can have an impact on one’s driving. Thus, if you are a driver you have to inform the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency and your insurance company about your condition. 

Depending on the severity of your condition (symptoms and medication) a decision will be taken after a medical assessment.

Sources: www.parkinsons.org.uk, www.patient.co.uk, www.healthlinkbc.ca, www.parkinsons.ie

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