Importance of Supporting the Midwest Parkinson Walk
We’re gearing up for the Midwest Parkinson Walk on September 7! In doing so, we wanted to take a minute to tell our story. As a company, we work with people living with Parkinson’s every day, making their homes more comfortable and adaptable to their unique needs. As a family, our brother-in-law was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Because the disease hits close to home for us, we want to make an impact and help everyone living with Parkinson.
Let’s Hear the Definition
Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra of the brain. Simply put, PD is a loss of cells in the area of the brain that produces dopamine. This midbrain nucleus plays a huge part in the motor movement. When the cells deteriorate, this part of the brain hardens, leading to tremors, loss of balance, limb rigidity, and other symptoms seen in Parkinson’s Disease.
So Why Should I Care?
Because, it affects more than 10 million people worldwide, including nearly one million Americans. Each year, 60,000 people are diagnosed in the US. There’s a hefty price tag associated with Parkinson’s Disease. According to the Parkinson Foundation, “The combined direct and indirect cost of Parkinson’s, including treatment, social security payments and lost income, is estimated to be nearly $52 billion per year in the United States alone.”
That’s a lot of dough. But it’s not just about the price tag alone, it’s also about the quality of life. Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease. People living with Parkinson’s may experience tremors, bradykinesia, limb rigidity, gait and balance problems. The disease itself is not fatal, but complications associated with disease rank No. 14 on leading causes of death in the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s high enough to raise a few eyebrows.
What We Do on the Daily to Help People Living with Parkinson’s Disease
We help clients living with Parkinson’s Disease daily by assessing how they can modify their home to work with them, rather than against them. Parkinson’s Disease affects fine motor skills, making it difficult to get dressed, comb your hair and walk. We suggest a variety of ways they can modify their home so they can navigate it despite symptoms. An example of modifications, we often advise clients to install ramps and grab bars that promote balance while walking through the home.
Specifically, ramps help inside and outside. People living with Parkinson’s often shuffle their feet, making it difficult to walk upstairs or over thresholds. Ramps make traversing between rooms much easier by lessening the risk of falling.
Grab bars can also be placed anywhere in the home where a little extra support is needed. A grab bar in the hallway or positioned at a door offers support to counteract any balance issues. Grab bars in the shower provide increased stability during bathing and while entering and exiting. Including a shower, the chair is another way to add relief in the shower and promotes fall prevention.
With time, larger modifications become essential to independent living. We provide a checklist for the most problematic areas in the home to help guide our clients through understanding what rooms need to be adapted.
Education is Our Top Priority
Our services are just a small piece of the puzzle to improving the lives of people living with Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s education is key to living the best life for anyone with the disease and their caregivers. Knowing programs offered by Parkinson’s organizations and the government, diet, emotional health, respite care and so many others, leads to a life well-lived. We present to caregivers and people with Parkinson’s to further their knowledge of the disease. We also provide lifestyle suggestions and tips to make life smoother.
Even knowing simple tricks to make mealtimes more enjoyable promote positive living. Tremors, rigidity, and impaired fine hand coordination are common with the disease and can disrupt eating. Having specially designed dishes to keep them from falling over or help food stay on utensils preserves independence during meals.
The American Parkinson Disease Association offers respite care programs that allow caregivers to take time for themselves. Caregiving can be overwhelming and taxing. It’s important for them to take a break once in a while for their own health. The APDA’s program provides financial support for a substitute caregiver to take over care of the loved one for a short time while the full-time caregiver takes time out for themselves. Other programs include grants from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and rights included in the Fair Housing Act.
Walking for Awareness, Research and a Cure for Parkinson’s Disease
This is why we walk. We are walking for our clients and family living with Parkinson’s Disease. We want them to have the same quality of life we do. Funds raised from the Midwest Parkinson Walk goes directly toward the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) to continue providing information, education, and support to those living with PD and to back scientific research in the causes, prevention, treatments, and ultimately the cure.
Become Part of Team Home for Life
We encourage you to join us. Even if you can’t physically walk with us, you can participate on our team. Whether it’s a donation or sharing this story, you can be a part of the Home for Life team. Ready to register for the walk? You can do so here.