Inspired by an audience member’s question, in this month’s meetup, the panelists discussed the ongoing and evolving challenges they face as they live with Parkinson’s.
Our next meetup is on November 16th, 2023. If you haven’t yet registered to attend the live meetups, you can do so here.
Notes From This Month’s Meetup
During our August meetup, a member of the audience commented that while they appreciated the panelists' humor and good nature, they often personally struggle with sadness and grief.
This affected multiple members of the panel, and they decided to focus this month on addressing the variety of ways Parkinson’s still challenges them--despite how they may appear during the meetups.
The panelists discussed many challenges; this post expands on just a few of the many important subjects that came up during the meetup.
Depression and Anxiety
In a 2022 article, Weintraub et al. write that 30-35% of people with Parkinson’s experience clinically significant depression or anxiety; depression is common at diagnosis; and 60% of people living with advanced Parkinson’s experience depressive symptoms. Many of the panelists acknowledged challenges with depression, and there was discussion about which medication they take.
If you, your care partner, or any member of your care team observes that you may be experiencing depression, it is important to address these concerns. Depression is associated with decreased quality of life, and according to Weintraub et al., it may be associated with increased mortality risk.
There are many pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical treatments for depression, but there are possible interactions between some treatments and common Parkinson’s medications. Talk to your care team about the best options for you.
Other Health Issues
Depression is just one example of a health challenge that people with Parkinson’s often face in addition to other Parkinson’s symptom’s.
This month, some of the panelists talked about injuries and other illnesses they live with. From cancer to fractures, your life may involve multiple medical issues. Parkinson’s can make these issues harder to navigate. For example, your ability to engage in conventional physical therapy approaches to recover from an orthopedic injury may be altered by your Parkinson’s symptoms. Additionally, receiving care in a hospital can be complicated—especially regarding receiving your Parkinson’s medication on time. Finally, even routine care—like receiving dental anesthesia for a simple filling—can be complicated by drug interactions.
One of the most important things you can do to help navigate additional health issues is to start strengthening your care team today. People often overlook two important care team members: an occupational therapist and a physical therapist. Good therapists—especially those familiar with Parkinson’s--can play a huge role in your ability to live well with Parkinson’s.
Remaining physically and mentally nimble
One thing the panelists have in common is that they have made a deliberate effort to remain as physically and mentally nimble in order to navigate what Kat Hill describes as a process of “incremental loss.” Remaining mentally ready to pivot and adapt to changes is critical to living well with Parkinson’s, and building resilience helps. Multiple panelists also mentioned that they have found empowerment in taking a generally optimistic approach and finding ways to integrate genuine humor--even dark humor!--into everyday life.
Next Month’s Meetup
For next month’s meetup on November 16th, 2023, the panelists will respond to audience questions received in previous months that have not yet been discussed. New questions are always welcome, so if you have something you’d like the panelists to address, please send it using this form or by emailing email@example.com.
WANT MORE PRACTICAL RESOURCES LIKE THIS?
You can learn much more about living well with Parkinson’s today through our Every Victory Counts® suite of resources. Each manual is packed with up-to-date information about everything Parkinson’s. Click the link below to order your manual(s).
Thank you to our 2023 Peak Partners, AbbVie, Amneal, and Kyowa Kirin, and our Every Victory Counts Gold Sponsor, AbbVie Grants, for their ongoing support of these must-have manuals. Additionally, we’d like to thank Barbara and Dale Ankenman, Abby and Ken Dawkins, Bonnie Gibbons, Gail Gitin in loving memory of Gene Gitin, Irwin Narter, and Lorraine and J Wilson for their generous donations that allow us to make these resources available and free to all.