As we all know, times have recently gotten tough… for everyone. No matter if you’re a person with Parkinson’s living in the UK, the US, or anywhere else in the world, or if you know or love someone with PD, care has just become more difficult thanks to COVID-19. We’ve had to self-isolate to ensure we are safe from the virus. After all, having Parkinson’s is considered an underlying condition – it’s something that will keep us from fighting the coronavirus as effectively as someone without PD, even for the muscle-builders among us.
So you’ve made the right choice and decided against going outside. If you’re lucky, you face isolation with a partner who may or may not be your caretaker. Either way, you’re isolating and hunkering down for the long run – your front door will remain closed for the time being. So how do you get through this time? After all, the governor of New York said this isolation period could last 3 to 9 more months! I’ll share some of the ways I’m fighting isolation, and how you might as well.
Your body is still your temple
Isolation and self-quarantine are no reason to let your body go. Your number one priority is making sure you get the exercise you need, the nutrition you require, and you take your meds as prescribed. As I mention in my book, every little bit of exercise helps. Use 500ml bottles of water as one-pound weights, walk the perimeter of your room, apartment, or house. If you can, open the window and draw the blinds for a few minutes each day. The sunshine and air will do you good.
Your mind must also stay fit
As important as it is for your body to stay healthy, your mental health is as important. We’ve all heard the terms – going stir crazy, having cabin fever – these do a good job of describing our new indoor reality. The worst part is not having human interaction. So while you try to stay cognitively well, playing board games, doing crossword puzzles, yes, even binge-watching your favorite shows on TV, pick up the phone and call a friend or other loved one. If you are able to, schedule a video chat with the people you miss in your life. And do it with greater frequency than you normally would. Don’t forget, loved ones are going stir crazy too! And if you’re feeling like no one understands what you’re going through, join the discussion with other Parkies on Facebook.
Services, services, services
While you’re not willing to risk your health for a bottle of milk, there are young healthy people out there doing us all a great service by delivering food (raw and already cooked), medications, and more. I personally use a service called Instacart, which allows you to send a personal shopper into your favorite market. and deliver the items to your door. You can even do so-called contact-less delivery, which means you don’t even interact with the delivery person. I’ve been in lockdown for two weeks but my fridge is full of fresh food.
Wipe, wipe, wash
Wash your hands with soap. I can’t stress this enough. Even if you don’t go outside and decide to have food delivered, wipe down the boxes and the handles you touch daily. I have a neighbor who buys all her needs on Amazon. That’s great, but do you know how many people touched your box and what’s inside before it reaches you? Yeah… wipe everything down with Lysol wipes (or generic). And before you put anything into your mouth… make sure you’ve washed your hands.
We’ll make it through, have hope
Turning on the news has become scary lately. Every channel is eager to tell us the “worst-case scenario” for the coronavirus. It doesn’t mean that’s how it will turn out. Headlines like “40-70% of Americans will get the virus” are opinions and don’t need to come true. Don’t lose hope. This is only temporary. If you practice social distancing (staying inside in your own personal bubble), and wash your hands and wipe down anything coming into your bubble, there’s no way the virus can catch you.
Don’t forget, this too shall pass. You’ll make it out the other side. Just have hope and practice some safe hygiene and social distancing.
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Nick Pernisco is the Parkinson’s Warrior, a person with Parkinson’s who has dedicated his life to helping others with Parkinson’s. Get the Parkinson’s Warrior book here. Join the discussion on Facebook.