Aging or Parkinson’s?

At our March 1 Just-Us Share Time meeting, we are going to talk about Aging with Parkinson’s.

Aging affects our bodies and our minds. Parkinson’s affects our bodies and our minds.

Aging is a progressive, degenerative process. Parkinson’s is also progressive and degenerative. 

Sometimes there’s a clear line distinguishing the two. Changes like wrinkled skin and graying hair are easily attributable to aging. Others, like tremor, the rigid muscles of dystonia, foot shuffling, slow movements (bradykinesia), and tiny handwriting are generally attributable to Parkinson’s. These are some of the signs doctors look for in diagnosing it. 

Other changes may not be so clear-cut. What about forgetfulness? When you can’t remember someone’s name; or you have a vague memory of something you said you’d do for someone but can’t recall what it was or who you said you’d do it for; or you experience “word holes” during conversation and can’t find the word buried in your brain that you’re looking for. 

What about loss of energy, stiffness and achiness, momentarily not knowing where you are while driving, or drawing a blank on how to do something you’ve done for years? Even Dr. Stephenson acknowledged last month that they do not know if eye and vision changes are caused by Parkinson’s or are a part of the natural aging process. Much is not known about how the disease affects cognitive function as well.

Some questions to get you started for our discussion:

  1. What changes do you notice in your body and your mind?
  2. How do you think of these changes? Is determining if caused by aging or Parkinson’s (even in your own mind) important or helpful to you?  Why or why not?
  3. How do you meet these changes and the loss and limitations that may come with them? That feeling of wishing things were different? With fear, grief, anger, or resignation? A sense of curiosity, openness, ease, or acceptance? A can-do attitude? Or a sense of giving-in? 
  4. How do we come to terms with these changes and move forward. How do we gain perspective?
  5. How can we help and encourage one another?
  • Just-Us Share Time Meeting Details:
    • Date: Wednesday, March 1
    • Time1:00-2:30 pm
    • Topic: Is it Aging? Is it Parkinson’s? Does it matter?

Please bring a mask with you to wear or not wear as you feel comfortable. For everyone’s safety, we ask that you not attend if you haven’t had two vaccines and at least one booster, are feeling ill, or have been exposed to anyone who is ill.

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