My tips on how to stay calm during stressful situations

Are you prepared if someone you love has a fall?

Jamie Askari avatar

by Jamie Askari |

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Early one morning a few weeks ago, I was in the bathroom drying my hair, which usually takes about 30 minutes every few days. I stood in front of the mirror with the dryer fan on high, hoping to get through the job as quickly as possible. My hair dryer is loud, so I usually stop it every few minutes to check on my husband, Arman, who has early-onset Parkinson’s disease — just in case.

I was about halfway through the lengthy process when I heard a loud bang. As I mentioned, the dryer is very noisy, so the bang must’ve been extremely loud for me to have heard it.

I immediately dropped the hair dryer, which crashed to the tile floor, and ran to the living room. It felt like hours before I reached him, although he was only 30 steps away. He was lying on the floor, and it looked like he barely missed falling onto the solid marble table next to the sofa. We were lucky.

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I panicked as I inspected him for broken bones or blood, neither of which I saw. I questioned him to find out how it happened only to discover that he was simply trying to turn the heat down on the thermostat. I cried out in fear and asked him why he wasn’t more careful, as if he could control the beast inside him that is Parkinson’s disease.

I helped Arman to his feet and guided him to the safety of his recliner. Once he was settled in, I could finally catch my breath. I apologized for my complete lack of control during the incident. That is my usual response, and we are both used to it.

After we had both calmed down, we discussed my intense overreaction to his falls. We talked about strategies that could help me stay in control during future incidents. And we came up with a workable plan that I used just this morning when he had another fall.

When I hear Arman falling in the future, here’s what I’ll do:

  • Take two deep breaths before I move. Since Arman has already fallen, it shouldn’t matter if I take a moment to compose myself before helping him. This will enable me to assist him calmly and productively.
  • Offer assistance without judgment and ask, “How can I help you?” I’ll help Arman to a safe and secure place without discussing the details. I’ll focus on attending to him and any injuries.

In times of stress, it helps to have a plan

Managing emotions and reactions during a stressful situation can be challenging. In the moment, it’s almost impossible to control your response unless you’re prepared in advance with a plan.

These two modifications really worked! They enabled us to successfully overcome a difficult moment. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to use these strategies during other types of stressful situations — fingers crossed.

Falls are inevitable with Parkinson’s disease, and unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid them altogether. The best thing we can do is to be prepared by having a plan in place and hope that we’re able to implement it at the right moment. As a caregiver, it is vital to me that we put together workable strategies to handle all types of issues that may come my way.

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, Bionews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Nancy-Ann Wright avatar

Nancy-Ann Wright

Thank you for your story. Many times it is a rush to get him to the hospital because he is bleeding on his head or hand. Falls especially during the night are scary. Living with a Parkinson patient is always one eye open and never able to relax. I will try your suggestions. Helps to have someone who understands. Thanks again/

Jamie Askari avatar

Jamie Askari

Hi Nancy! I completely relate to your comments about keeping one eye open, as well as never being able to relax. I hope my suggestions are helpful to you! Thanks for reading!

Caryn Long avatar

Caryn Long

Sage advice. I think that is most helpful to calm oneself and ask your loved one with PD what would be helpful. They know what they need most and they deserve respect in knowing if and what assistance would be helpful. Our stress impacts them and can increase their anxiety and bring on more motor symptoms.
I am not saying it is easy to do in the moment but it is helpful in the long run for the person with PD and the caregiver. Thank you for your post.

Jamie Askari avatar

Jamie Askari

Hi Caryn, thank you for reading! I love the reminder about deserving respect, it is a great point to make. Yes, it is very tough in the moment, but staying calm is so very important for all.

Jean avatar


While it is always best to have a 2nd. Pair of eyes, hands... a call pendant that detects falls can help save lives. Also a tracking device...

Jamie Askari avatar

Jamie Askari

Hi Jean! These are fantastic ideas to keep in mind! Thank you for reading ;)


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