Healthy Living

How to Be an Encouraging Companion to a Friend or Relative with Parkinson’s Disease

How to Be an Encouraging Companion to a Friend or Relative with Parkinson’s Disease

The Buddy Program

Parkinson’s disease patients and students at the University of Louisville Medical School have a mutually-beneficial opportunity to join a program to meet once a month and discuss the disease. “The Buddy Program,” as it is called, pairs students with Parkinson’s patients for a year (September through April) and allows the participants to meet for a few hours once a month to talk about living with the disease. The program is expected to help students grasp Parkinson’s on a more empathetic level than found in the classroom alone and benefit the patients by giving them a friend they can talk to about the disease.

The Importance and Practical Applications of Companionship

Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disease characterized by tremors, stiffness, and speech problems, may be helped through various sorts of therapy. Though no cure has yet been found, there are an array of options to ease the effects of the disease, and having a friend can tremendously help. Someone to talk to about the symptoms, as the Buddy Program tries to do, can take some of the deep burden off the struggle internally, but personal friend can also act as a cheerleader, caregiver, and partner through therapy and everyday life.

Friends and relatives of a Parkinson’s disease patient have many options and opportunities to be the much-needed encouragement by engaging in various activities with the patient and developing a relationship which will add to their own life as well. The following are some activities suitable to all.