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I live alone and have Parkinson's. Do you have any suggestions for caring for myself without a care partner or close family nearby?

Living on your own with a chronic condition is not easy, but people do it successfully every day. What are they doing without a safety net in the home? I read a quote recently that I think answers that question. "It takes wisdom to realize you need help, and courage to ask for it."

You can set up your safety net or a Circle of Care (COC). Think about what you need help doing to give you the most freedom and security to live well daily? You consciously choose to find friends and family to support you in many ways. First, admit that you can't do it all and will accept their help in whatever way they offer. Many people close to you are willing to help but don't know what you need. You have to be specific and give them several ideas. If you let them choose what they are comfortable doing, they are much more willing to offer.

Early in the disease process, you may not have much you can't handle. Take some time and check out the technology now available. Smartwatches can do several tasks that help with safety. Third-party apps can let others check on you daily or whatever schedule you prefer. Health apps are available to help with blood pressure monitoring and medication reminders, to name a few.

Asking your physician for an order for a Home Safety check is another idea. An occupational therapist can assess your living space and recommend safety features that are easy to make. Rearranging the furniture may be all you need to give you peace of mind and prevent falls.

If you aren't able to find a support group of others living alone with PD, then start your own. Meeting another person in the same situation will help you see you aren't alone; you can brainstorm ideas together. Think outside the box for adaptations you can make to make Parkinson's disease revolve around your life and not the other way around.

Most national PD organizations have resources and webinars dealing with this topic. Below are several that have more information on this vital topic:

American Parkinson Disease Association

Davis Phinney Foundation

Parkinson's Foundation

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