Why Kindness Works for Parkinson Warriors and their Caregivers

January 12, 2015


It is a fact based on research that being kind to oneself helps, in the best of circumstances. It means having a positive attitude, “can do” mindset. And this is very helpful to Parkinson Warriors.

“One of the words I have heard over and over is ‘If you really want to do it, don’t let PD tell you that you can’t!’ Throughout this journey I have seen things change in my life that I struggle with daily. Lately I have lost the ability to sing. That has been my biggest loss to date as I have sung my whole life. So, today I do a great lip sync with any song I hear. As I have been told, “If you enjoy it, find another way to enjoy it.” – Phil Petrsek, a PD Warrior.

Caregivers are unsung heroes who faithfully fight alongside PD Warriors. Even as PD Warriors benefit from being kind to themselves, they will be a great encouragement to the caregivers when they show kindness to them. Being kind is as simple as being more appreciative towards the caregivers, and being more cooperative in following their instructions.

Of course, kindness from the caregivers is equally important.

“With patience and love, you can do anything for the Parkinson warrior. We need to understand their needs and limitations to know what is best for them.” – A caregiver from Singapore

Being kind to themselves also means being sensitive to self-needs, take time off without feeling guilty, and be willing to receive help from others.

“I make sure I get a break every now and then. I am not too focused on my husband alone, but I take time to enjoy other hobbies and sports. This also gives other people the chance to take over my position as caregiver.” – A caregiver from Singapore

The Battle against Parkinson is not fought alone. There are many unexpected allies.

“Often people will approach me to assist me to bring the wheelchair in and out of the car boot. They see the need and they simply come forward to help. Surprisingly, most of them are the foreign workers and cleaners.” – A caregiver from Singapore

“The story of my Parkinson’s journey so far is mostly about the importance of your mate, your family, your friends and colleagues plus the goodwill of fine decent people that appear out of thin air, most of whom you know for only moments, who graciously support your will to fight on.” – Dennis, Patient, husband.

“Simple human companionship cannot be ignored. The loving presence of a good friend or family member simply cannot be replaced by assisted care staff. I would frequently take my mom out for a ride in the car, or for a wheelchair spin around the block on a sunny day, or would simply sit with her and hold her hand for an hour or two, even if we didn’t talk much. Even when she got to an advanced stage and couldn’t communicate, I knew that she felt loved and cared for and knew she was not being ignored.” – Peter Adams, caregiver.

In the battle against Parkinson, kindness all around gives the PD Warrior the love-in-action needed to win this war – emotionally and psychologically.

Dr William Wan
General Secretary
Singapore Kindness Movement

First published in Parkinson News (A publication by Parkinson Society Singapore) – December, 2014

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