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Decisions

Thursday October 04, 2018

Decisions

Before I retired, I wrote computer programs. Almost all software makes decisions at some point in the program code. Two years ago I came to a choice of my own. Stay and work with the drag of Parkinson's disease affecting my work or retire and make the most of my PD "honeymoon period." With a decent amount of money in my 401k and with the kids almost finished college I hit "retire now" button. I never looked back. For myself, retirement was the correct choice. Leaving the 9 to 5 grind allowed me to focus on my health and what I enjoyed doing. Removing the necessary wake-up time allowed me to get some rest even after a night of Parkinson's induced insomnia. Anyone who has the disease realizes how vital sleep is for fighting PD.

Additionally, I was able to exercise more often. Exercise is one of the few things that actually slows the progression of the disease. Lastly, no job-related stress in my life was a big plus. I haven't seen any studies on how stress affects PD, but I can't imagine it is a positive effect!  

So if you're diagnosed with Parkinson's disease should you make the decision to retire? Of course not. Parkinson's just adds another factor in the complex decision of retirement. A diagnosis of Young Onset PD may occur before a patient has any substantial retirement savings. Then the choices are to continue working or disability. A person with Parkinson's may enjoy their working environment with their job presenting enjoyable challenges or social connections. Many people retire without any thought of what activities they plan to do and no plans of maintaining social relationships. This lack of foresight can lead to an unhappy and dismal retirement life -- even more so if you are a PWP.

So what retirement decisions should you make with a PD diagnosis? These are my experiences and thoughts. If your career is an integral part of your life, then consider staying at work. If your PD symptoms are affecting your work ask your employer for accommodation. Many companies will gladly make adjustments to allow a trained and experienced employee to continue as a valued member of a company. One caveat on the last statement. Accommodation programs do vary from workplace to workplace so some caution may be in order. In the federal government, there are firm ADA rules, but those rules vary more in the private sector. Prepare to show your value to the company- it's worth more than the cost of any accommodation.

My next recommendation is one that I followed in my last years at US EPA Region 10. Save like your retirement date is tomorrow. Try to pay down any debt before retirement even if you have to skip your daily Starbuck's latte and lunch out. Parkinson's is a relentless and capricious disease and may force you to retire early. Build new connections and activities outside of your work-life. And realize that your career is only one chapter of your life. Retirement is a new chapter, plan to enjoy and live this new chapter in spite of Parkinson's disease!

- Bill Clugston, NW Parkinson's Community Member

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Archives

2018
Baguette and Red
Pete Beidler: The Man Behind the Books
Decisions
Reimagining Our Approach to Parkinson’s
Celebrating Fall
Board Member Spotlight on Pinky Reeve
Inattention
Whispers on the Run
More than Our Words: Speech Pathology & Parkinson's
Hardwired for Humor
Golf & Parkinson's
Tea with Terry
Welcome to The Weekly!
Never Stop Learning: an Astrophotographer's Approach
Board Spotlight on Doreen Nicholas
Second Opinions
Parkinson's Pete Reviews "Perseverance" by Tim Hague
Pathway to Picnic Perfection
Board Member Spotlight on Gloria Gottesman
Care Cat
"We'll Never Leave Anybody Behind"
Parkinson's Pete Reviews "The Highest Tide"
Uniting the Parkinson's Community
Horse Sense & Parkinson's
The Ballard Wave
Parkinson's Pete Reviews "I Give My Eyes" by Brian Peterson
Board Spotlight on Elizabeth Keller
Who, What, When?
Controlled Flight into Terrain
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Guitar Therapy
A New Parkinson's Perspective
Pete Beidler Reviews "The Heartbeat of Creativity"
Board Member Spotlight on David Newsom
Pete Beidler Reviews "A Parkinson's Life"
We're Listening: NWPF 2017 Community Survey
Lessons From Having Parkinson's
Fundraising with Family: Meet the Hankens
Feel it in the Gut: Daughters of People with Parkinson’s
Pairing Tango & Parkinson's
New Diagnoses, New Posses
Meet your new Executive Director!
Outside the Ring: Rock Steady Boxing
Poetry & Parkinson's
Holding on to Hope
Confessions of a Pill Head
Tackling PD Together
Pulling the Plug
Five Important Questions: How Do I Make the Best Decision?
Love Your Body Week
A Review on Parkinson Pete’s Bookshelves
Why me?
Parkinson Voice Project
2017 2016
Lies That Parkinson's Disease Told Me
Managing the Holiday Blues 2016
Who Was That Masked Man?
The Rain Is Shining — A Thanksgiving Message
Book Review - H.O.P.E.: Four Keys to a Better Quality of Life for Parkinson's
David Leventhal: Dancer, Teacher, Community Leader, Humanitarian, Movement Specialist
Meet Emily!
Rhonda Foulds, Outrunning Parkinson's Disease
Book Review: The Perapatetic Pursuit of Parkinson Disease
Staff Stories - Melanie
Snake Oil, the Cure for Parkinson's.
Book Review: Nan Little
Life's a Lot Better with NWPF
Tipping Points
Book Review: Natural Therapies for Parkinson's Disease
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Time After Time: Kim Farmer's Story
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Boxing is cool
Safety with Style: House Renovations you can hold on to
Book review: On My Own
Shaken to the Core
Isolation and Parkinson's Disease, The hiding and the hidden
Camp Brian Interview
Safety with Style: House design ideas you can hold on to
Book review: Shake Well Before Use
Notes on Acceptance
"Advice" to a person with Advancing Parkinson's Disease
Needed: New Parkinson’s Vocabulary
Caregiving: Ken's Story
A Well-Tested Testimonial, or Spin for Parkinson's
Safety with Style: House design ideas you can hold on to
Caregiving: Susan's Story
Rock Steady Boxing: Emily
Book Review: My Degeneration, A Journey Through Parkinson's
The Marble Halls of Power
Safety with Style: House design ideas you can hold on to
2015
ROCKIN’ AROUND THE GROCERY CART
Managing the Holiday Blues
Book Review: A Complete Guide for Patients and Families
The joke is on Parkinson's
I don't always like groups, but when I do...
JBC + DBS: A Mostly-Love Story (Continued)
Rock Steady Boxing: Fred Hyde
Present Moment: A Continued Conversation
Book Review: Navigating Life with Parkinson's Disease
JBC + DBS: A Mostly-Love Story
Present Moment
On the scent of Parkinson’s disease
Harold Allen (Hal) Newsom
The 2016 World Parkinson’s Congress in Portland, Oregon is Fast Approaching: Make Plans to Attend
Flowers on Dr. Starr's Tie
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Listen: Unlocking Parkinson's Disease
Book Review: If I Can Climb Kilimanjaro, Why Can't I Brush My Teeth?
The Evolution of HOPE
QUIZ: How well do you know your Parkinson’s Disease?
Living with Hope
Notes on Hope
Tug, tug, tug
Denial on Trial
Flowers in Our Hair
Resilience: Bouncing Back from Adversity
Summer Travel
Tina Sawyer Steps Up Fundraising in Seaside
The uncooperative patient
To be in June
Pressure Sores
Caring for a Spouse Living with PD
Life Lessons
Doc Parkinson - A Eulogy
Boom Go Parkinson’s Costs
From the Depths of the Cupboards: Pumpkin Bars
Doctor's Visits
Get Moving!
Choosing a shared burden
Our Brain's "Negativity Bias" Part 2
Outside of Language
Managing Constipation in Parkinson’s Disease
Replacements
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The Helplessness Antidote
Examples of living your best
10 exercise tips for people with Parkinson's
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Parkinson's Action Network (PAN) Report
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Living for a Cure
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2014 2013 2012
Most popular posts of 2012
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Walking and balance can significantly impact quality of life- but is treatable.
Depression is common with Parkinson’s
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Hot Off the Press – Neupro approved by FDA
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