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Hi! My name is Kathy. I am a care partner for my husband, Gary, who was diagnosed in 2012 with Parkinson’s and, more recently, with Dementia. I’m so glad that you are looking for support on your caregiver journey! I would be honored to be a listening ear and to share my experiences of caregiving, in hopes that it can lighten your load and give you hope.
I spend a lot of time researching Parkinson’s related symptoms, treatments, medications, exercises, therapies, daily living accommodations, and more in my effort to maintain my husband’s quality of life. I love to share what I learn with others to help them have the knowledge and resources to make informed decisions. Knowledge is so important when it comes to managing Parkinson’s and being an advocate for your loved one.
I am grateful that I can be here for my husband, but being a caregiver is hard. It is so easy to get lost in caring for your loved one and not take care of yourself or do activities that you enjoy. This can be from a lack of time or energy, or the guilt of being able to still go, do and enjoy things that your loved one can no longer do. It is critical that you redirect some of your time and energy devoted to your loved one, towards yourself.
I tell you this, because I didn’t take my own advice until I made a trip to the ER for stress induced heart palpitations in 2021. At that point, the knowledge that I need to take care of myself literally made the 12 inch journey from my head, to my heart, and I started to take action. Since then, I have allowed others into our journey rather than try to put a happy face on and keep them at a distance. And recently, I took the hard step of placing my husband in a facility for a week so I could get true respite. It ended up a blessing for each of us.
Taking care of yourself is not easy, it takes time and energy. But the benefit of doing so will result in a stronger and more energized you. You deserve self-care and you are worth it.
I am a Person with Parkinson’s who was diagnosed prior to my 37th birthday. Hearing those words, “You have Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease,” I’ll never forget those feelings of confusion, heartache and not knowing where to turn for help. I had three kids still in school and I was working full-time. Then I felt I didn’t exactly know what Parkinson’s meant but I didn’t have time for it.
I quickly learned over the last 8 years that my lifestyle was going to have to change as “Mr. P” (Mr. Parkinson’s) had its own plans for me. After going through the most unique and powerful self-observation, self-healing, Deep Brain Stimulation, I understood that this is simply a new chapter in my life.
I may not be able to skydive like I did before, but I’m learning how to navigate and enjoy life within itself. My perspective on most things is that I cannot lose my sense of humor. I am determined to make the rest of my years, the best of my years, one day at a time.