Rich Wildau

Boulder, Colorado

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011, at the same age as my father was. I retired from a career in psychology, human resources management, and integration of refugees and immigrants. I have always been a participant in activities such as skiing, hiking, swimming, and tennis and struggled with the new reality of keeping up with my non-Parkinson’s friends. Then, all of a sudden, I found myself experiencing the potential for isolation, and it took a while to adjust to my new reality and realize that there is nothing I have to prove to others.

I attribute a lot of my success to participating in local Parkinson’s-centric classes such as dance, boxing, and voice training, where I can meet members of my community, build relationships, and offer support to those who are dealing with similar challenges. I am a member of the Boulder Support Group Planning Committee and formed a monthly meeting called Coffee and Conversation that’s designed for resource sharing and learning in an informal setting.

For me, living well with Parkinson’s means consciously reducing sources of anxiety in my life and taking advantage of all the things I can still do. It means appreciating the wind in my face on a sunset bike ride and feeling the joy that comes when swimming unwinds my stiff back. Finally, traveling the world with my life partner is still something to be pursued with vigor.

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