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Friday, July 6, 2012

Working and Parkinson's

We all want to remain as participating members of the community but on the other hand do you work or retire young thus enabling you to do these things that you always wanted to do before it's too late.

If you can arrange it, part-time work is the answer and even better, part-time working from home. When I was diagnosed with Parkinson's I took a medical retirement from my governmet job which fortunately gave me enough to pay off my mortgage and set up  asmall consultancy where I could work part time and at my own pace. It was probably the most sensible thing I have done in my whole life!!!

If i have a lot of energy i can do more work and if my energy wanes I can do less.

I can go to yoga, the gym and have rest breaks which are vitally important if you want to be able to sustain your working life for a bit longer.

I find that when that dreadful sudden hit of tiredness descends you simply must lie down and rest because working or even thinking is impossible.

This brings me to the main message of this post and that is planning. When I was initially diagnosed I started my 5 year plans - things like retirement, sell the house etc. When my husband died my plans were derailed but I have taken the idea back on.

So planning is my number one message (after exercise).

I did, however, want to explore a little the issues around working and Parkinson's. It has traditionally been thought of as an old people's disease so working was never an issue. Now with many more people being diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinsons's , dealing with it in a physical and burearucratic way has become vey real. Fortunately when I was working full time I was working in a very supportive environment and again true to my 'milking it for all it's worth' philosophy used it if I needed to move to a centre close to home and not travel as far. I'm sure it's different for many others who may feel the need to hide their Parkinson's from work mates and bosses in case they will be discriminated against or told to leave work.

In this day and age of OH&S requirements surely there is a type of light duties for an employee with Parkinson's.

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