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Parkinson's disease management eased by caregiver

(BPT) - For more than 14 years, Chuck Holdeman, a 74-year-old man from Bloomington, Ind., has been living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), a chronic condition which inhibits several types of neurological activity, including motor skill function and cognitive ability. Chuck is just one of the estimated 1 million people living with PD in the United States, and there are 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

While symptoms and treatment may vary among patients, a care partner and medical support team are essential elements of a successful treatment plan for many. For Chuck, that partner in care is his wife Marianne, whose dedication, love and support has made managing his PD much more acceptable.

Marianne’s support has been evident from the onset. “I do whatever I can to ensure that Chuck exercises regularly and takes his medication as prescribed every day,” she says. “By adhering to the treatment plan we outlined with our neurologist, Chuck is able to be an active member of our family; he loves playing with his best friend, Lucky, our Boston terrier, staying active by walking and using his master gardener skills to beautify our home.”

The journey isn’t always easy for a care partner. “Patience and understanding are two virtues that all care partners must display,” Marianne explains, “but if it means having more quality time to spend with your loved one, it’s all worth it.”  

This November marks the 16th annual National Family Caregivers Month, celebrating people like Marianne who dedicate their lives to the well-being of others. 

National Family Caregivers Month, along with the surrounding holidays, is a time for PD patients like Chuck to reflect on how thankful they are for their support system. “Although taking my medication and regular exercise has helped me to manage my PD, it’s my wife’s support that keeps me on the right track, and for that I am truly grateful.”

For more information and resources about PD and being a partner in care, please visit www.parkinsonshealth.com.

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