The following Q&A with Claire Berman, member of PDF’s People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council, discusses PDF’s PD ExpertBriefing: Occupational Therapy and PD: Tips for Healthy Living.
What role, if any, can an occupational therapist play in helping someone with Parkinson’s continue to enjoy a reasonable quality of life? A very helpful one, I learned from the PD ExpertBriefing led by Sue Berger, Ph.D. and Linda Tickle-Degnan, Ph.D. on September 9, 2014.
Q: What was the most important message that you took from the PD ExpertBriefing?
People with Parkinson’s must be encouraged to live as near-to-normal lives as possible for as long as is possible. Various strategies can help in making awkward situations manageable. For example: Suppose you’re self-conscious about going out to dinner in a busy eatery, you might be more at ease with a reservation for an earlier hour when the restaurant is less crowded. No longer able to play golf? Consider joining your former partners for a drink after their game. The goal is to remain socially involved.
Occupational therapists can also recommend useful aids. No longer able to hold a bridge hand? There are devices designed to hold the cards for you. Have difficulty getting in and out of cars? Using a swivel cushion might help. (Note: I went online and ordered one right after the webinar.)
Q: Did this PD ExpertBriefing change your understanding of occupational therapy? If so, how?
If I ever thought about occupational therapy, it was in an industrial context: helping someone who’d suffered an accident get back on the job. I didn’t realize that it could also be useful for someone whose life has been changed by PD.
Q: Would you recommend that other people with Parkinson’s disease view this video?
Yes. In addition to providing practical advice, it encourages one to think about making changes to enhance the quality of life. I like that.
Claire Berman is an award-winning writer from New York, NY. A person living with Parkinson’s disease, Ms. Berman is also a member of the PDF People with Parkinson’s Advisory Council and the author of the PDF booklet: Diagnosis Parkinson’s Disease: You Are Not Alone.