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Good-bye Apathy, Hello Joy!

My name is Jan. I am 70 years old and diagnosed 5 years ago with PD. My precious husband was the one that kept telling my doctor something was wrong which finally convinced him to refer me to neurologist.

Helped beyond measure

He died of Pancreatic cancer the following year so my journey has been a real test of strength. Six months ago my best friend took a job at local nursing home as director of activities. She loves her work and invited me to come and volunteer, as she could sure use the help. Well…turns out those residents have helped me beyond measure! I go on Monday-Wednesday and Friday.

Finding purpose

There are approximately 15-20 residents able to participate. The halls are long and carpeted and we have to go get residents and push their wheelchairs or walk with them. We do craft projects, color, do puzzles, play bingo and dominos and have sing-a-long. We do manicures and do sittersize, then return with them to their rooms. I’m there 3 to 4 hours and have lunch with my friend. I walk, exercise, read to them and have reaped enormous benefits. I no longer have “off time“, my energy level has increased and I don’t need naps those days.

I have purpose and feel deeply blessed to know I’m helping these beautiful souls enjoy their days, and my new fight theme is, “I have PD but it doesn’t have me!!!” God Bless.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • jeanita
    2 years ago

    i love you outlook on life! By helping others you are enriching your one life. You have found the secret to a life well lived.

  • umercer
    2 years ago

    What an inspiration you are Jan! I am live in caregiver to my aunt who is in late stage PD. I can relate to finding the blessing in devoting your time and energy to helping others. As much of the medicine she takes preserved her mobility until recently, I have found that laughter has been the best medicine in her case. Many thanks for your story and your kindness to others as your chosen therapy.

  • Maria De Leon
    2 years ago

    i love your spirit- keep up the great work and may you and your loved ones have a joyous holiday season…thinking play some games with some almond joy’s because sometimes we all need to feel like a nut to be truly happy – ‘Here’s to the ones who dream
    Foolish as they may seem..” from one of my favorite movies ( to the fools who dream) from La La land!

  • Chris H. moderator
    2 years ago

    I’m so glad you shared your story, Jan! This is such a great message for those who struggle with apathy. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I’m sure it was indeed a great test of strength. Getting involved like this has so many great benefits. I’m sure the folks in the nursing home appreciate your time and energy so much. Thanks for what you do! I hope you have a great holiday season! – Chris, Team Member

  • Elyria120422 author
    2 years ago

    Thank you Chris ! Merry Christmas to you too ! Jc

  • KarenLucille
    2 years ago

    Your post hit close to home. I am 52, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about 12 years ago, and my husband was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer this year.He is doing amazingly well, and has a very positive outlook.It has been hard for me to accept the fact that I cannot be his caregiver,and he can’t be mine. Reading your story gives me hope that there can still be joy even if I lose him.

  • Elyria120422 author
    2 years ago

    Thank you for your note Karen, you were so young when diagnosed with PD. I can only imagine what your journey has been to now. A struggle I’m sure. We fought hard to beat the cancer, and proud to say we made it 2 years. Prayers you continue to fight and win !!! I’ve had many mountains to climb in my 70 years, but PD has been the most challenging difficult one of all. It’s a constant guessing game for me …is what’s happening age -related or is it PD ? My neurologist isn’t real helpful.
    My joy comes from all the wonderful precious memories I have with my husband Rex. His spirit is with me always. You stay strong and know you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless, Jan C

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