Dexterity and Parkinson's Disease

How can I minimize embarrassing dexterity problems?

Dexterity problems can include fumbling for bills, change, and credit cards at checkout counters. Staying at home is a great temptation when your symptoms are showing, but it only deprives you and your spouse or friends of the pleasure of each other's company. And it isolates you. The truth is that few people will even notice your symptoms. A bad tremor while making change is taken for a momentary rattling. Knocking over a glass at dinner? Spilled soup? It happens to everyone.

 

How can I minimize embarrassing dexterity problems such as fumbling for bills, change, and credit cards at checkout counters?

Some Parkinson's patients embark on an endless search for the perfect wallet, but the issue is not limited to money. Car keys, theater programs, church bulletins, a glass of wine, or a plate of food at a buffet -- worse yet, both a glass and a plate. Everyone drops things. It just happens more frequently with Parkinson's patients, who carry around this baggage of "disease" that seems to get a little heavier with each mishap.

Compensatory strategies can be helpful: A large wallet for easy access, counting change ahead of time, not using change, asking a friend to hold your drink while you steady a plate, etc. When you encounter a new problem, think about the best way to handle it the next time. And remember, dropping change is a symptom of your disease, not a reflection on your character. The more you are out and about, the more people will see you, and visibility means greater acceptance from others as well as increased confidence. Parkinson's disease doesn't have to be a prison.

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