Whether you’re living with Parkinson’s disease or caring for someone who is, we have tips to make the most of the holidays without creating additional work and stress.
Chief Mission Officer, American Parkinson Disease Association
“It is important to find a little time for you amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.”
The holiday season is right around the corner. Gift shopping, cooking, cleaning, hosting friends and family, or traveling to see loved ones can be wonderful, but can also feel overwhelming — especially when navigating life with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Whether you’re living with PD or caring for someone who is, here are some tips to make the most of the holidays without creating additional work and stress.
Make gift shopping simple with gift cards or consider a “Secret Santa”-style gift exchange where you purchase a gift for just one person, instead of many.
Consider sending e-cards instead of printed holiday cards, and save the time and effort of stuffing envelopes, postage, etc. This is also helpful if the symptoms of PD have made handwriting difficult.
To travel, or not?
If traveling is hard for you, don’t miss out completely! Try virtual holiday celebrations instead of in-person. You can visit with friends and family via Zoom, FaceTime, or other video chat technology from the comfort and safety of your own home. You can keep it special and festive with virtual games, storytelling, recipe-sharing, and more.
If you are traveling, make sure not to over-schedule yourself, leaving plenty of time for rest and breaks. Make sure to fill prescriptions before leaving town, and keep all medication and doctor’s contact information handy.
Exercise and movement can help you feel better, improve stamina, and more! But don’t let winter weather keep you from moving. There are many online classes you can join from home, or get outside for a walk or a jog (invite family members to join you — or don’t if you need some alone time!)
Take time for yourself
Whether it’s to squeeze in a doctor appointment, a phone call to an old friend, to get some exercise, or just have some quiet alone time to read a book, it is important to find a little time for you amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Sometimes it takes a village, and that’s OK. If friends or family offer help, say “yes” and give them something specific to do. Could you use a ride somewhere? Help with some errands? Assistance with gift-wrapping? Or maybe you could just use some company for a bit. Don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help.
You don’t have to go it alone. The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) can help you find a support group near you, or you can join an online community like Smart Patients — a discussion forum for people with PD and their loved ones where you can share advice and information.