Coming into our first meeting, we need to set our expectations. It’s important that we have similar views on what our group can be. Each one of us who latched on to the possibility as soon as they heard of the group’s creation sees what we can be. The most important commitment should be to confidentiality. If we really want a safe place to discuss topics we can’t discuss elsewhere, we have to know: What is said there, stays there. Who else is there, stays there.
What We Are Not:
- Professional Counselors. We walk in as equals with much to learn from each other.
- A medical team. We can share information about our individual medical treatment plans but no one should change their own based on anything said in the group.
However, We Can Offer a Place:
- To express feelings with people who understand.
- To have a place to be heard.
- To deal with feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- To develop coping strategies for dealing with the day-to-day life with Parkinson’s Disease and side effects of treatment and medication.
- To freely express emotions and to come to terms with the loss, grief and changes resulting from our illness.
Possible Topics May Include:
- Exercise – Fitting it in your day. What works for you?
- Dealing with your children, regardless of age.
- Telling people your diagnosis.
- Accepting help.
- Hospitalization – How to advocate for yourself.
- Shifting balance of power with spouse.
- Dealing with the change in your financial situation.
- Should you be willing to go to a nursing home to ease burden on spouse?
- Protecting your spouse.
- Is “care partner” the best name for your spouse?
- If you have done the finances, how do you transition the responsibility to your spouse?
- Giving up driving.
- Keeping your sense of self.
- Sexuality and your relationship.
- Can I discuss dying without someone deciding I’m depressed?