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Quality of Life and Wellness

What improves quality of life?

Quality of life is not an easy term to define. Each person will likely have a different definition. A basic definition of quality of life is the degree to which you enjoy life and the possibilities it holds for you. Quality of life must also take into consideration your current problems, disease symptoms and the ability to adapt to any life changes the disease brings.

It is easy to assume that quality of life will automatically decline or worsen as Parkinson's movement symptoms worsen. Some people continue to live high quality and full lives despite loss in mobility.

If your Parkinson's changes over time, or as you age, you may need to make some life changes. Some of these life changes may seem like a loss to you. However, it is important to remember that what you value or what is important to you can change over time.

Also, if your disease limits your ability to do something, it is possible to shift your focus to something else. For example, movement and physical abilities may still be important to a person who was a good athlete, but as this athlete gets older, other priorities such as family, friends or spirituality become equally or even more important. By paying attention to these new priorities over time, quality of life can continue to grow in a positive direction.

Quality of life categories

For many, quality living can be divided into some of the very categories or principles that are a part of patient-centered care and reviewed in that section.

What about me? This includes not only your physical abilities but also your mood, anxiety or worries, desires, hobbies, preferences and strengths.

Relationships: What relationships are important to you? This may include the ability to spend time with family and friends. It may include community, volunteer or religious activities. It may even include your living environment.

Staying active: Can I still make choices, and decide important things for myself? Am I doing what I can for myself, my disease or my loved one? This includes more than your physical abilities or ability to move.

Wellness

While it's easy to assume that wellness will automatically decline or worsen as Parkinson's movement symptoms worsen, some people do continue to live high quality and full lives despite loss in mobility.

We can challenge our own ideas of wellness, and shift our attention away from what we do not have to what we do have, can get, achieve or improve.

What does wellness mean to you?

Wellness means different things to different people. Some think of wellness as a physical state or absence of disease. Others think of wellness as a sense of balance in one's life. For some, wellness may be a state of mind or inner peace. Wellness is an idea, a concept, a feeling, a goal and a sense of ideal living.

Wellness can change over time. Through an understanding of what is most important to your life and lifestyle at this point in time, it is possible to achieve wellness. It is important that you, as a person with Parkinson's disease or movement disorder, come up with your own wellness definition.

Is wellness possible with Parkinson's disease?

While wellness is possible for people with PD and other movement disorders, it is important to remember that wellness will mean different things to different people. It requires active steps towards making personal and lifestyle changes to optimize.

One step to wellness is through the letting go of the things you can no longer do, working toward things you can do, change or improve, and adapting or modifying your lifestyle and routine to meet your personal needs, interests and life passion.

A state of balance in your life can be achieved by taking steps to improve your health when possible, with focus not just on physical activity, but also, nutrition, spiritual and emotional wellbeing.

How can I improve my sense of wellness?

Develop your own personal definition of what it means to feel and be well. What it means to be well will change with time, as we age and with any changes in health and life.

Wellness can be achieved through an understanding of your Parkinson's disease, other illness or physical limitations and how these problems impact your life. For some a "well state of mind" means paying more attention to family, important relationships, life's passions, hobbies or spiritual growth.

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