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More "monthly awareness news" at SandwichINK, this time for boomers and seniors. April is Parkinsons Disease Awareness month and a good time to discuss some great ways to help raise awareness as well as some excellent resources for those of us caring for elderly parents with Parkinsons Disease and its various symptoms.
When my senior dad first entered the early stages of Parkinsons, we mostly just noticed the tremor in his shaking hands. As the disease progressed, we learned more about living with Parkinsons and discovered such things as the Parkinsons gait, as well as the freezing when walking. When he reached the end stage of Parkinsons Disease, one of the first clues to that was the swallowing problems he started to experience. His neurologist referred us to other resources and therapists and we learned that it was called Dysphagia and is a common side effect of Parkinsons Disease – especially in the advanced stage of Parkinsons Disease
Through all of my dad's dealings with Parkinsons Disease, we were very blessed by regular newsletters and information from various Parkinsons Disease organizations and books. Towards the end of my dad's illness, we were also enjoying the great resources we discovered on the internet and now, of course, the web is a wealth of information and support through such great organizations as the National Parkinson Foundation, the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA). You can find a great list of all the different Parkinson's Disease Organizations at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke – another excellent resource.
As with Poetry.org for Poetry Awareness Month, with their fun list of ideas for helping our grandkids learn more about poetry, the National Parkinson Foundation has an interesting list of 30 ideas for patients with Parkinsons Disease as well as those of us who are or have been involved in helping family members and friends with Parkinsons Disease to learn more about it AND to help others become more aware of this difficult disease. The more people who know about it, the better!
I was quite pleased to realize I had already done some of the things on the list without even knowing about it, like:
- Share your personal Parkinsons story with a friend, neighbor or family member – I shared it with you at Caring for Our Elderly Parents Til “Death Does Them Part” and Are You Dealing With the Sandwich Generation Issues of Caring for Elderly Parents With Major Health Problems?
- Start blogging – My senior dad's Parkinsons Disease was, indeed, one of the several catalysts for SandwichINK.
- Spend time with someone who has Parkinsons Disease – As I've shared many times, I was blessed to help my senior parents deal with this for several years.
- Like the National Parkinson Foundation on Facebook – I did that today. Won't you join me?
- Follow the National Parkinson Foundation on Twitter – I also did that today. Come join us there as well.
- Download a publication on living with Parkinsons Disease – and they have several – just click here. Also, APDA is offering a free download of Ten Tips to Put the Freeze on Freezing.
To read the rest of the great ideas and get more information, be sure to visit the National Parkinsons Organization website.
Also, if you are caring for elderly parents who are dealing with swallowing problems and Parkinsons Disease, as my dad did, you'll be thrilled to know there is a wonderful book on just that topic, Swallow Safely. It discusses what exactly is dysphagia, the symptoms and recommended treatment for dysphagia, and specific information for swallowing problems and Parkinsons Disease. I sent a copy to a senior friend whose husband has Parkinsons Disease and is now experiencing swallowing problems. I was very happy to hear it was a big help and encouragement to them.
All in all, much good news for all of us boomers and seniors who may be dealing with Parkinsons Disease or are caring for elderly parents with the symptoms. Are you actively participating in Parkinsons Disease Awareness Month? Or do you have other resources to share with us? We'd love to hear. 🙂
P.S. More good news! You can read my article, Tips to Ensure a Fun Visit with Elderly Grandparents and Younger Grandchildren, at another great resource for all of us caring for elderly parents as well as babysitting grandchildren – SeniorsForLiving.com