April Awareness x2: Parkinson’s and Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapist Linda Tickle-Degnen, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, pictured here at the PDF booth at the AOTA meeting.

Most of us know that April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. But did you know that April is also National Occupational Therapy Month?

At PDF, we are excited to see these two awareness months coincide. We have been working alongside occupational therapists (OTs) in recent years to raise awareness of the ways in which OT can improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s.

For example, PDF added a webinar and fact sheet to our library of educational materials, both of which discuss benefits of occupational therapy for people with Parkinson’s and practical tips for working with an OT. We also launched a new online course, Occupational Therapy: Across the Parkinson’s Disease Continuum, designed to help occupational therapists keep up with the latest in Parkinson’s.

So how can occupational therapy help in Parkinson’s?
It can be a challenge for people with Parkinson’s to maintain activities of daily living, such as self-care, leisure, household chores and work. For example, the disease can make it more difficult to write by hand, button a shirt or play golf.

Occupational therapy can be a great resource for all of these situations. It is an OT’s job to help people living with Parkinson’s find strategies that allow them to continue performing everyday tasks. For example, if you are having difficulty using the computer, an OT may suggest a keyboard adjustment. If you are having trouble getting in and out of the car, they may recommend using a seat cushion.

As Dr. Linda Tickle-Degnen (pictured top left) recently told PDF, “For people with Parkinson’s, losing the ability to work, exercise or perform daily tasks can be devastating. OT can help people to maintain these important activities and their independence for as long as possible.”

How can you find an occupational therapist?
If you think OT might help in your life with Parkinson’s, first ask your neurologist or movement disorder specialist for an occupational therapy referral, and see if they can recommend an OT with knowledge of PD. If you are still having trouble, browse the website of the American Occupational Therapy Association for more information and ideas.

Do you want to learn more?
Are you looking for more information on occupational therapy and its role in PD? Contact our HelpLine at (800) 457-6676 or info@pdf.org, or browse our resources below:

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