My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s close to his 80th birthday. It was a shock to my family.
To be honest even prior to his diagnosis, I had a feeling he might have Parkinson’s. He had a lot of shaking in his hands which I found out of the ordinary. He kept saying it was his nerves. I think he was in denial at first because he didn’t know much about the disease and how important it is to catch it in its early stages.
Then my dad went to his primary care physician. As soon as he saw my dad shuffling his feet, he said, “I think your father is suffering from Parkinson’s.” He sent my father to a neurologist, who confirmed the diagnosis.
Since then, my mother has done an amazing job caring for my father. She was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, so being my father’s caregiver takes an added toll on her. She shaves him. She cooks. She tries to walk him around. She holds him up. Mind you, this woman is 92 pounds and 4’8”!
Watching both my parents be so brave has been an inspiration. They will soon be moving in with me, so I can help care for them with the help of my siblings. My sister lives nearby and my brother, who lives in another state, provides his support as much as possible.
I am fortunate to have my parents and I feel lucky that my family is very close. I think it’s important for families to work together in the face of Parkinson’s and create a solid support system.
With Parkinson’s you have to be patient. Stay strong. Be aware. Research. Stay on your toes. Talk to your doctor. And if you feel your doctor isn’t equipped enough, find someone who is.
Before my father found out he had Parkinson’s, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a party. My parents love to dance and they were out in full swing!
When they reach their 65th anniversary, we want to throw another big party with lots of dancing. My father loves to dance. Actually, that’s how we get him moving.
My sister and I visit my parents every Sunday. We put on music and we dance. My father also likes to play the bongos. He has been very musical all of his life.
Dancing is how we get him moving. I think that is how you can motivate people to get moving – by doing something they love to do. We love to get my father to dance with my mom. It’s very sweet to see. My goal is to take the best possible care of them so they are dancing when they celebrate their 65 years together.