Are you living with Parkinson's disease (PD) without a primary care partner? If you live alone or your family and friends live at a distance, it is important to seek out community resources that you can rely on for any future needs. It is also vital to maintain emotional well-being and to avoid isolating yourself.
Find a Support Group
A good support group can offer a wealth of benefits. Such groups foster friendships and the sharing of experiences and advice. To find one in your area, contact the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636).
If you find you need more than peer support, talk to your healthcare provider about a referral to a social worker, mental health counselor or geriatric care manager. These professionals can partner with you and your doctor to help manage your medical issues and other needs.
There may come a time when you need transportation help. Discover what free or low-cost options are available to you, such as a bus, train, subway, taxi or ride sharing companies. Some local government and community centers offer shuttle services for people with disabilities.
If you belong to a religious organization, such as a church or synagogue, they may have a committee of volunteers who drive community members to different destinations. Contact your local religious or community service organizations to find out.
Minimize Risk at Home
Use the Parkinson’s Foundation’s Home Safety Considerations checklist to ensure your home is safe and easily accessible. Or request a Home Safety Evaluation from your doctor. An occupational therapist can perform an in-home assessment to make your home safer.
You may also want to research medical alert systems. These wearable devices can bring help quickly in an emergency.
Know Who to Call
It can be hard to admit it, but we all need a hand every once in a while, whether it’s for help changing a lightbulb or someone to notify in case of an emergency. Keep a list of people who you know are willing to help if you need it. This could include family members, friends, neighbors and even a hired handyman. It is also a good idea to keep a list of tasks people can help with if they offer, such as doing a grocery run or working on the garden.
Forge a New Path
Though living alone can complicate daily living for people with Parkinson’s, it can also open new doors. People with PD have found strength in community and new networks, such as neighborhood associations, support groups, online message boards and even PD-specific yoga or non-contact boxing classes. More importantly, they have made new connections and friends.
Please call the Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) for more resources or with questions about living alone.