How Money Plays a Role in Wellness with Parkinson’s Disease

Frugality is a badge of honor that my parents have worn for most of their lives. Instead of funneling thousands of dollars into fancy cars and big screen televisions, they often scraped the bottom of the barrel and wiped their hands clean of excess. When the money was gone, it was gone. There was nothing left to discuss.

Perhaps as a consequence of living in a state of depravity for many decades, I still wonder about my parent’s financial wellness. Both my mom and my dad are very determined, and hardworking people, which has made them self-sufficient in the past. But when you throw something into the mix like Parkinson’s disease, can you guarantee that they will continue to flourish?

If you live in a capitalistic society where help costs money, can you always find and afford the resources that you need? And, if stress exacerbates Parkinson’s symptoms, what does that mean for my dad?

Covering the cost of Parkinson's care

Out of curiosity, I recently asked my parents what their monthly expenses look like, to evaluate their financial prowess. And I was impressed. They continue to make decisions from a place of frugality, supporting a lifestyle without bells and whistles. But they seem to have enough to satisfy their needs on a day-to-day basis.

Now that they’re no longer caring for 6 children, their resources seem to have grown, which could set my dad up for more success in the realm of Parkinson’s care.

Dad is insured, and his health insurance supports most of his Parkinson’s-related appointments. Occasionally, we joke about his "witch doctor" – or homeopathic doctor, wondering if his findings are sustentative since they are not condoned or supported by most medical insurance companies. But, for the most part, Dad is able to seek out the care and medical support that he needs to manage Parkinson’s according to his preferences.

Unplanned problems

But I can’t help but wonder about unplanned problems like this one:

Last month, the color rushed from Dad’s face. He became severely dehydrated and took a trip to the emergency room. The medical technicians pumped him full of fluids, and it took him a few days to make a full recovery. After the incident, Dad started wondering whether it might be worthwhile to look into a monthly home-care nurse to screen for issues like dehydration.

According to Dad’s insurance program, his policy may be able to provide assistance for in-home care. But depending on where you live, and what brand of insurance you have, this isn’t always the case.

How do we prepare for the unexpected?

So, what happens if Dad determines he needs a service that isn’t covered by his insurance policy? What if his insurance company treats him like a sardine in a can instead of the dynamic, complex human that he is? And how do we best prepare ourselves to support my dad while we’re working with limited resources?

I don’t have immediate answers to these questions. Working from a place of hypotheticals presents a lot of potential problems without many answers. But the first part of my process is always to think about the possibilities.

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