Today, I received an email from the Parkinson’s Foundation that I found very helpful, especially in light of the fact that we have been living in the most unusual times.
First, there is a terrific column by Michael S. Okun, MD, Parkinson’s Foundation National Medical Director. Cover, Control, Contain: Navigating the Holidays with Parkinson’s has some great tips from a Facebook Live event “Navigating Parkinson’s and COVID-19” held in November.
Fighting Pandemic Fatigue
So many of us are reeling from Pandemic Fatigue that we either forget or choose not to do the things we need to do in order to stay healthy. Here in California, where we have just been locked down again with many more restrictions for at least the next 3 weeks, it is importat to acknowledge that we are vulnerable and must take safety precautions. We often forget to wear a mask when out of our homes, or stand in lines where we are much closer than 6 feet. What about Flu shots? A lot of people say they won’t get them this year because it won’t protect them from COVID-19. But if you get the flu and your immune system is weak, are you more likely to get sick if exposed to the virus? Getting sick with both can be deadly.
The one miracle that has happened this year is that several pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccines in record time that will soon be available to the public. Some of them have an effectiveness rate of 90% and higher, with little or no adverse reactions, which is pretty amazing. We know that medical personnel and first responders will be the first to get it and it may be several months before it is widely available to all. Talk to your doctor to see if you can get put on a priority list.
Gifts for a Person with Parkinson’s
I loved the second piece 16 Parkinson’s-Friendly Gifts. There are a lot of very good suggestions here and I would like to add a few more. Many of them are free or require an inexpensive subscription online.
- A subscription for audiobooks. As Parkinson’s progresses, it may become more difficult to read, even on a Kindle or similar device. You can buy books to download through apps like Audible or Chirp. Most libraries offer a wide range of digital content and much of it is free. All you need is a phone and an app to access just about anything you want to listen to..
- Give the gift of learning. A huge number of courses from world-class universities and corporations are available through Coursera, The Great Courses and other online platforms. Likewise, many universities offer classes online for their alumni. It should be easy to find something that will be of interest to your person with Parkinson’s (PwP).
- Learning a new language is great for the brain. Duolingo offers foreign language lessons in many different languages. All you need is a computer or smartphone to get started.
- Tour the world – virtually! Does your PwP miss traveling? Many tour companies offer virtual tours on-line. A quick search will find a virtual tour for wherever you want to go. You can make the experience even more fun by having a meal with food and music from the city or country you are visiting. Make it a total experience. You could even try speaking the language that you learned on Duolingo.
- Missing Parkinson’s exercise classes? Check with your PwP’s boxing, yoga, dance or other PD exercise classes to see if they are offering their classes through Zoom. It is a great way to connect with them again. Many of these classes are now being offered on a donation basis. Please support these instructors with a donation. Many of them are suffering from the closures of their gyms. This is a gift for them, too.
- A night out at the Opera or Theater. Virtually! Mr. Twitchy and I recently watched a very entertaining interactive magic show online offered by a local theater company. Friends joined us from their home and we all had a lot of fun. Check with your local theaters, symphonies, operas and other entertainment venues to see what is available. The Met Opera streams many of its operas nightly. You will have to purchase tickets or a subscription for access to many of these shows.
Get creative. The possibilities are mind-boggling. Many of these suggestions can become family or friend activities that you can do from the comfort of your homes. Just have fun. Remember, laughter increases the dopamine in our brains and that is the best gift can you give to a person with Parkinson’s.