Maintaining Interest in Hobbies Post Diagnosis
As an introvert, I find comfort in silence. I recharge my batteries from the depths of my home, where I’m commonly reading books or playing music. I think that my dad is much the same.
He has never been one to go out of his way to go to a party, or fight to spend an evening on the town – not even before his Parkinson’s diagnosis.
After his Parkinson’s diagnosis, it always seemed like there was a tremendous amount of shame surrounding the disease. He worked as a realtor for much of his life, and he didn’t want to be seen shaking on the job. So, he began turning showings over to younger agents.
But the disengagement seemed to trickle into his personal life, too. Instead of heading to his childhood friend’s home for a game night, he became more likely to stay in. Or rather than attending a holiday event, he preferred to celebrate at home.
Since the diagnosis, I’ve seen dad go through a number of ebbs and flows. When he hung up his realtor hat, he seemed to become less worried about the way that others perceived him. But he still doesn’t go to game nights and holiday parties.
Slowing the progression
I don’t want to push him to partake in activities that he might find draining or exhausting. But I do wonder if there are hobbies that could enrich his life.
It makes sense that a he may become less engaged with some activities. For example, card games, or hobbies that require precision and dexterity may become more difficult to execute.
But it seems like participating in the exact activities that become more challenging could help to slow Parkinson’s symptoms.
Exploring new hobbies
In the past, I’ve read about some people with Parkinson’s (PWP) gravitating towards the exploration of hobbies like the following:
Singing - It not only gives you a creative outlet, but it could also help to target some of the muscles that commonly weaken over time with Parkinson’s disease.1
Boxing -Boxing has also been shown to help PWP to combat some of the muscular symptoms that relate to the disease.
Games - While cards or games may be more difficult to manage with tremors, they do challenge your reflexes and problem-solving skills. So, it could be helpful to create a Parkinson’s game night, or to play a game with friends or family.
Painting and fine arts - Making art may help PWP tune up their motor skills. Since using utensils like brushes and pencils require dexterity, using them may help you to slow the progression of symptoms that effect these areas.
These days, Dad mostly listens to audiobooks, rides his bicycle and completes household tasks. And he’s happy participating in select events. But every once in a while, I’ll come home for a week, and encourage him to play a good game of Euchre with me.
I’m no expert, and everyone’s needs vary greatly. But I’d like to see my dad challenging himself to stay motivated and connected to at least one hobby because I think it could help him to stay as sharp as a tack.
Has it been difficult for you or a loved one to maintain hobbies?