Remembering my medication
I always have my prescription in my handbag and the telephone number of a friend in case of emergency. As I don’t have anyone to remind me to take my medication I set an alarm on my phone. I also have a note on my front door that says ‘pills’ to remind me when I leave the house.
Adaptations at home
I’ve done a few things to make life easier and safer at home. I have banisters each side of my stairs – fitted for free by my local authority. I’ve also had my bath removed and replaced with a shower. When I decided I wanted a small dishwasher a friend pointed out I could trip over the door when it was open, so I had one installed on top of the kitchen counter, which is great. I have a gas fire but I was worried I might have a fall bending down to turn it on. I was delighted to find out you can have a gas fire controlled by remote, so I now turn the fire on and off while sitting on my sofa!
I’m an active member of a local choir and I go to U3A (University of the Third Age) groups. I also regularly attend a Parkinson’s exercise class and a Parkinson’s dance group – these classes are very enjoyable for the exercise and the socialising.
Dealing with bad days
Having Parkinson’s can be very frustrating and everyone has good days and bad days. I try to have some simple strategies to help me cope with the bad days. I avoid doing things that can affect my balance, so I won’t start weeding in the garden if I don’t feel up to it. I try not to lose my patience when I drop things, or can’t open a can or find the milk. I just remove myself from the situation and come back later. If I’m feeling low, I pick up the phone and arrange to visit a friend for a hug and a cup of tea, or to get a lunch date in the diary. Sometimes it helps just putting some music on or watching a favourite TV show.
If I felt like my situation was changing I’d think about joining an emergency alarm scheme so I could get help at the push of a button. I’d also talk to my GP, Parkinson’s nurse and neurologist. And, of course, I’d talk to my friends. But I don’t really live alone anyway – I have my lovely cat Jasper with me!