After the initial shock of a Parkinson's diagnosis, knowing what steps to take next can be a challenge. Long-term planning may look particularly daunting.
In the short term, find a doctor who's right for you and can help you manage symptoms throughout the disease. Use our tool to search for a local movement disorder specialist, a neurologist with additional training in Parkinson's disease.
Our community shared their advice on steps they took to help reduce stress and live better with Parkinson's in the long term.
1. Talk with your family about long-term decisions. Our community recommended tackling topics like wills, assisted living and other long-term concerns early on. Several community members reported that doing so lifted a weight off their shoulders.
2. Understand the full range of Parkinson's symptoms. Not everyone with Parkinson's experiences every symptom, but knowing what to expect can help you recognize lesser-know symptoms like depression and vision disturbances, for example.
3. Start exercising. For people with Parkinson's, research suggests that regular exercise can help improve symptoms like rigidity and balance difficulties. It's never too early, or too late, to talk with your doctor and start a program.
4. Be open about concerns, fears and expectations. A Parkinson's diagnosis can bring on many difficult emotions. Symptoms related to speech and mood may also make voicing those concerns more difficult. Try these communication tips from our community if you're having trouble connecting with your loved one.
5. Join a support group for people with Parkinson's and/or for caregivers. If you're looking for local resources, support groups can be a helpful place to start. A talk with someone going through a similar experience can also help reduce stress.
6. Remember that Parkinson's isn't the same for everyone. People with young-onset Parkinson's in particular, may have a different experience from those diagnosed later in life. While planning ahead is important, you know your experience with the disease best.