SURE-PD Clinical Trial for Parkinson's Disease: Mass General Hospital
Preparing for Life After a Parkinson's Diagnosis
At some point, your life with Parkinson's disease will not resemble the life you were living before your diagnosis. Planning ahead will make things easier on you and your family.
By Dennis Thompson Jr.
Medically Reviewed by Christine Wilmsen Craig, MD
Don't Miss This
Sign Up for OurHealthy LivingNewsletter
Thanks for signing up!You might also like these other newsletters:
There are plans to be made following a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, a chronic and debilitating disease that has no cure. Many of these plans involve Parkinson's medication and treatment, but others involve financial issues, like how to pay for your health care, as well as preparation for the future. After being diagnosed with Parkinson's and before the disease progresses too far, it's important to take time to make financial, household management, and medical plans that will protect you and your family in the future.
After a Parkinson’s Diagnosis: Getting Organized
You should begin planning by gathering and organizing all of your family's records. This will make it easier for your loved ones to manage household affairs if and when your Parkinson's disease symptoms become too serious and you're less able to contribute. The records to be gathered and shared with your caregivers include:
- Wills and trust documents
- Marriage licenses and birth certificates
- Social Security cards and passports
- Military paperwork
Another good thing to do following a Parkinson's diagnosis is to complete a full assessment of your financial situation by preparing a list of your:
- Bank accounts, including the names, numbers, and types of each one, as well as your credit cards. Be sure to note the name of each bank, and who is authorized to have access these accounts and cards.
- Safe deposit boxes — their locations and who is authorized to access them
- Investments, noting the firms and stockbrokers handling all accounts
- Assets like retirement plans, annuities, heirlooms, and jewelry
- Properties you own, including real estate, cars, boats, and other vehicles
Make sure that you have all of your financial and family records organized and stored in a secure, fireproof box. Finally, prepare a list of all of the different types of insurance you have, including life, health, disability, and homeowner's — noting the details of each policy. Organizing and planning in this way will help your family and caregivers as you proceed forward from your Parkinson's diagnosis.
After the Parkinson’s Diagnosis: Planning for the Future
There are several legal documents you can prepare to help guide your future care and ensure that your wishes will be followed when your Parkinson's disease progresses. These include:
- Wills.A will gives you the power to identify your heirs and detail what inheritance they will receive following your death.
- Durable power of attorney.This document designates someone to act as your representative in financial matters. Because it is "durable," it will be in effect even if you become incapacitated (whereas a general power of attorney would not). In the document, you decide the breadth of power you want to give to your representative.
- Living trusts.A living trust details how your assets should be managed if you become disabled. In essence, the trust becomes the legal owner of your property, but, as the trustee, you manage your assets and remain in control. Should something happen to you, you can name another person as a trustee later on. This trustee can manage your assets but cannot sign legal documents on your behalf.
- Advance medical directives.You can fill out a living will, which will give directions to doctors regarding your wishes for medical treatment if you become unable to communicate. You also can fill out a medical power of attorney and designate a representative to express your wishes.
After the Parkinson’s Diagnosis: Disability Information
At some point, many people who have Parkinson's disease will not be able to work and must rely on disability programs for income and medical coverage. You should apply for disability when your symptoms become too incapacitating to allow you to work. Disability programs that might be available to you include:
- State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Programs
- Supplemental Security Income
- Medicare and Medicaid
- Social Security Disability Insurance
If you've been diagnosed with Parkinson's, you can check the eligibility requirements for government-sponsored disability programs by going to the Social Security . When filing for disability, become a paperwork packrat — keep any potentially relevant paperwork you receive from employers, insurers, government agencies, and personal advocates. Likewise, keep copies of every document you submit. Being diligent about this paperwork during the early stages of your disease will ensure that you're cared for in the way you wish in the days ahead.
Video: Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson’s Disease – Past, Present, Future
What’s Acceptable On A Stag Do (According To Women)
How to love yourself again after a break-up
Hutong, The Shard
This Shower Wine Glass Holder Is the Perfect Christmas Gift for Everyone on Your List
Demand for cheap clothes surges
How a Straightener Can Help Save Space and Keep You Stylish This Summer
Stuffed Baby Bell Peppers
Christina Hendricks New Haircut 2013
3 Yoga Poses To Help You Relax
Your Prostate Cancer Treatment May Depend on Your Doctor
Halle Berry Just Revealed the Low-Cal Cauliflower Pizza Shes Obsessed With
Men’s Fashion Basics – Part 65 – How to Wear Trainers With a Suit
Beauty Chat with Heidi Klum