Employment and Parkinson's Disease
Educational Supplement #24
Julie Sacks, MSW, LCSW
Director, APDA National Young Onset Center
Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield, IL
Learning to live with Parkinson's disease (PD) is a process. For most people, the first step in that process is educating themselves about the disease and it's management. What about learning to work with Parkinson's disease?
With an ever increasing number of people working well into their 60's, 70's, and beyond, and more and more people being diagnosed young, one of the critical questions becomes, "How long will I be able to continue working?" Similar to the process that occurs upon diagnosis, managing your PD in the workplace (knowing if/when to slow down, disclose your diagnosis; request an accommodation, and/or to apply for disability) is a learning process as well.
You will want to clearly understand your rights, your limitations, and the various benefits to which you may be entitled. The more research and advanced planning you do BEFORE you make critical decisions about work, the more likely you will be to successfully negotiate PD-related employment issues.
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