Every year, nearly 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. For some reason, the condition doesn’t receive the attention it deserves if we want to make a real difference in bettering the lives of people living with Parkinson’s.
Actor Michael J. Fox, who has been living with the disease since 1991, recently announced his latest movie which documents his journey, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie.
Disease Doesn’t Discriminate
Documentaries like this can go a long way towards giving us a glimpse into the lives of loved ones we want to help most. Fox, a man with far more resources than the average person living with Parkinson’s, details the challenges and reality of the diagnosis in a manner that can resonate with anyone dealing with the disease, regardless of their financial background.
There are plenty of other examples of celebrities who can attest to the fact that Parkinson’s can catch up to anyone. The great Muhammad Ali, who couldn’t be beat by the fastest and strongest fighters alive, was still eventually caught by Parkinson’s.
Neil Diamond, the voice of Boston’s anthem, Sweet Caroline, just spoke with Fortune.com a month ago about how the diagnosis was too surreal even for him. Even more recently, Richard Lewis of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame, just announced his formal retirement from comedy after living with the disease for over 25 years.
Each of these celebrities prove that Parkinson’s doesn’t discriminate, nor does it care how many resources you have at your disposal. Instead, the diagnosis is a very real reminder that we as people need to do our best at controlling what we can. This means making the most of life post-diagnosis and doing our part to make sure the next generation doesn’t have to face the challenges that today’s generation of patients does.
A Reminder that Life is What You Make It
As Diamond put it, the diagnosis is a very surreal experience. It can often make a patient reflect on life and how they can make the most of every day. Michael J. Fox used his diagnosis as a platform to launch the largest non-profit funder of Parkinson’s research, the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Ali went on to open his own Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, Arizona, which has helped thousands of Parkinson’s patients since its opening. Diamond has become a regular donor to the Michael J. Fox Foundation and has replaced his regular tours with awareness campaigns for the disease. Similarly, Lewis has dedicated comedy shows to the cause and contributed over $700,000 towards Fox’s foundation in 2020 alone.
Having the Right Mindset
Most people living with Parkinson’s don’t have the means of an A-lister at their disposal. But money can’t buy the right mindset. As someone living with Parkinson’s, everything that you do will be dictated by your attitude. The first reality to accept upon being diagnosed is that the disease doesn’t define who you are, rather, it provides an opportunity to showcase your strength and character.
Don’t give up on doing the things you love. Stay active and continue to do the hobbies that give you purpose. Spend time with your family and friends, get outside and exercise, and be present in your loved ones’ lives. Parkinson’s is just a series of speed bumps, not stop signs.
Using the Right Tools
Having the right mindset is critical to thriving with Parkinson’s, but so are taking the right steps to ensure you’re physically as healthy as possible. Many activities of daily life are impacted by the disease’s symptoms, but there are plenty solutions and resources to be utilized.
SYNERGY HomeCare has built a reputation for their care and dedication to thousands of Parkinson’s patients across the country. From moderate personal assistance to full-time care, SYNERGY HomeCare can support your in-home Parkinson’s care plan to help you meet your particular goals and needs, including helping with healthy meal planning, transportation to and from appointments, and medication reminders. Every client’s Parkinson’s journey is unique, and as a result, every care plan is completely individualized.
For more information on helping your loved one navigate a Parkinson’s diagnosis, download SYNERGY HomeCare’s free Memory Care Guide.