At Walker Methodist, we are sincerely dedicated to providing great care for people living with Parkinson’s. This commitment remains the same even when we’re dealing with COVID-19.
My father has a Parkinson’s diagnosis, so I’ve been able to hear from him firsthand how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic affects him. It’s important to know when someone with Parkinson’s is under extra stress, their symptoms can become aggravated. Since Parkinson’s medications are specific to symptoms and require strict adherence, added stress has potential to disrupt this pattern and make symptoms harder to manage.
For my father, more stress means he has more tremors. However, not all effects can be noticed visually, and not everyone will be affected in the same way. And, because of underlying symptoms, people with Parkinson’s are at a higher risk for COVID-19. If you have Parkinson’s or care for someone who does, we hope these tips and resources help you stay safe and healthy.
Get creative with exercise
Exercise is important for people with Parkinson’s. Since gyms and fitness centers are closed, many people need to make a new fitness plan. If this feels overwhelming to you, take a moment to pause and know you’re not alone. There are many resources available, even online. With some creativity, you can develop a new healthy routine. Tune into free Facebook live classes by Silver&Fit or SilverSneakers. Browse YouTube for virtual yoga or stretching classes. If you have a gym membership, check to see if online classes or training is available. You can also buy equipment to transform what you already have. For example, my father turned his bike into a stationary bike with a trainer stand.
Connect with physicians
Make sure you stay in touch with your Parkinson’s physician and take advantage of telehealth opportunities. It takes intentionality, but try to stay even more in touch with caregivers and professionals. They can help you make a plan to manage stress and symptoms. This could look like building time to relax into your schedule, or it may include an updated medication plan. This is something your doctors can advise, so be sure to connect with them.
Stay in touch with others and ask for help
Staying connected to friends, family, and support systems is important, too. If you are a caregiver, now is a crucial time to connect with or join a support group. Many groups are still meeting online. This is a simple, free way to learn and get help. Or, reach out to other support networks and ask other caregivers for advice. Talk to friends and family using Zoom or FaceTime. Be sure to manage your own stress in healthy ways, too. If family or friends are no longer able to help you care for your loved one, consider exploring the addition of more assistance, even if you might not have considered it in the past.
Parkinson’s Foundation resources
Because of our commitment to serving those with Parkinson’s, we’re showing our support of the Parkinson’s Foundation by participating in their virtual Moving Day walk. Even if you’re not able to donate, you can register to show your support. Learn more here.
The Parkinson’s Foundation has also created many excellent virtual resources, available for free.
In these unprecedented times, we hope you are well. If we can do anything to help, please reach out to a community near you.