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[back] Message From The President - October 2008 Sara Lew - 30 October 2008

Message From The President - October 2008

Dear Members,

It has been almost twenty years since my father was diagnosed with Parkinson's. So much water has since flowed under the bridge and through the years, living with Parkinson's has been a very challenging one for both him and our family members. There were fears, tears, pains, anger, rejections and a host of other problems that came along with it, but with patience, determination and the loving relationship between my father and the family, we were able to tackle the problems in our strides.

While Dad is coping relatively well with Parkinson's, the ravages of time have taken its toll on him. He's almost 80 years old now. His "off" periods are more frequent, his freezes are many, but he's still as determined as ever to do his daily routine by himself during his "on" periods, such as bathing and exercising. Four years ago, he was diagnosed with diabetes. Now, glaucoma has robbed him of his eyesight and left him partially blind. Reading used to be his past time but due to his failing sight, he reads lesser now. Being a fighter, he did not give in to this adversity, but instead, depends on his other senses, mainly his sense of hearing. He spends more time listening to the music now.

Dad is blessed with a loving and dedicated wife in my mother who is the primary caregiver. Her love for my father knows no bounds. I remember the times when my father suffered from hallucinations about seven years ago and he turned his wrath on my mother, something that he had never done before during their married life. Mum was able to bear it all, telling us that she "will never get angry with father as he is not conscious about his behaviour". In recent years, Mum's health began to deteriorate as well. She is already 79 years old and her body is getting more frail by the days. We, the children have become more involved in the caregiving. My four married brothers and I take turns to look after him at night as he is totally disabled during this time. Having a maid to take care of him at night is totally out of the question as my parents feel more secured with their children around.

It is true that when someone in the family has had Parkinson's, it impacts the lives of their loved ones as well. Therefore, it is important that both the patient and caregiver understand the conditions and learn how to cope with them. Don't isolate yourself from others. Instead, try to reach out for more information and learn from the experiences of others who are in the same situation as you are. Ignorance about Parkinson's is a workshop for fear, misconceptions; and mismanagement of the conditions.

I call upon all our members, people with Parkinson's and caregivers alike, to come and join the activities organized by our Parkinson Center as often as you possibly can. Come bond, learn and share your experiences with each other. If MPDA hasn't changed your life, it has definitely changed mine. It has helped my family and I learned how to cope with Parkinson's.

In the meantime, I wish all our members, "A Happy and Blessed Festive Season".

With best regards and wishes,

Sara Lew
1st October 2008