Columns

A New Parkinson’s Exercise Class Opens Near My Dad

“Mary Beth, I’ll be starting a new Parkinson’s exercise class this week,” my dad told me early one morning. Before COVID-19 hit, Dad was religiously taking Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) classes at a local facility. But the pandemic forced that particular location to close permanently, leaving my dad…

The Joy of Comfort Foods in Parkinson’s Disease

We’ve all heard that eating a nutritious diet full of green leafy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can promote good health and even help to prevent illnesses like heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. But sometimes we may crave a juicy burger with all the fixings or the sugar…

The Well of Resources: Managing Chronic Illness

It’s the hand I have been dealt: Parkinson’s for the rest of my life. The good news is I have lucid days. With the right tools, I can remain a productive member of society and a minimal burden on family. I maintain a mental image, my “well of resources,” throughout…

Hallucinations Can Be a Scary Side Effect of Parkinson’s

Do you see or hear things that others don’t? According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, 20–40% of Parkinson’s patients say they’ve experienced hallucinations or delusions. The foundation’s website states, “Hallucinations are when someone sees, hears or feels something that is not actually there.” Unlike dreams, these episodes occur when the…

The Self-checkout Problem for People With Parkinson’s

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a shortage of staffing at many businesses, including grocery stores. These days, it seems that self-checkout lanes have become the norm. In many places, gone are the days of multiple checkout cashiers with whom customers can have a brief but pleasant chat. I feel fortunate…

Akathisia and Constipation: The Odd Couple

Sometimes, the call of nature is a daily dash to the bathroom. At least it used to be for me. I had a regular routine — until Parkinson’s disease came along. Now, I don’t sense “having to go” in the same way. Days will go by without a visit to…

Why Monitoring Bone Health Is Crucial in Parkinson’s

My sister Bev, who has stage 3 Parkinson’s disease (PD), has balance problems and an unsteady gait, which have led to a number of falls. Fortunately, she hasn’t suffered any major injuries as a result. Last year, Bev had a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, or DEXA, scan to measure…

Panic Sets In as My Parents Test for COVID-19

“How’s your 2022 so far?” I text my dad a few days into January. “Not so good,” his message lights up my phone. “I think I have COVID.” At first, I think he’s joking. He’s always finding ways to look on the bright side of life, and sometimes doing so…

Off Periods and Biological Clock Malfunctions

Before I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease seven years ago, I hadn’t heard the term “off periods.” After getting involved in the Parkinson’s community, I discovered that the term is frequently used. One reader asked, “Why do my symptoms get so bad in the early evening?” My response was,…