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I was diagnosed with PD nine years ago. My progression has been slow, but recently.....


I was diagnosed with PD nine years ago. My progression has been slow, but recently, I have found it more challenging to do some of my jobs around the house. I feel defeated when I try, but I am not strong enough or tire so quickly now. Any suggestions for how to cope with these changes?

What you describe is familiar and not easy to handle. Living with a chronic and progressive disease like PD is not easy. This situation tells you again that you have another loss in your physical ability, and you can accept or reject this fact. I suggest adapting, similar to coping, but a different mindset is needed.

How you choose to live with PD is under your control. You have to be willing to look at the situation realistically, accept the new limitations, and find a solution you can live with. This is adapting, not just coping. You adapt to changes and challenges as they arise. Some call this maintaining a "flexible mindset." You decide how much to adjust your lifestyle and how much assistance you need. It will be different for each person.

In my work with people living with PD, I have observed many reactions to the diagnosis and the changes the diagnosis brings. Maintaining a realistic and hopeful attitude at the same time appears to be helpful to some. This allows you to give yourself permission to be sad or overwhelmed at times yet balance that with putting energy into empowering yourself and finding optimism. When things aren't working for you anymore, be open to adapting. Sometimes, only a tiny change is needed that will make a huge difference.

For example, assistive technology has made great strides, and many new products are designed to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of people living with PD. They can be low-tech, such as putting a rubber band around a glass to help with gripping, to high-tech speech recognition software for those with speech issues.

Another adaptation may be being kind to yourself. Stop judging and comparing your past situation to now. If you are doing the best you can, that's enough. Be patient; doing what you can at your own pace is fine. You may surprise yourself at what you can do when you accept what is difficult and find a "work around."

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