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Resources for People with Parkinsonís

If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s disease (PD), you may often find yourself looking for guidance on how to save on medications, locate a local exercise class, or modify your home because of the physical challenges presented by the disease.

There are resources specifically designed to assist you with these tasks. Many are geared toward people age 62 and older, while others serve to help people with disabilities and their families.

Below, we have listed a sampling of some that we most often reference through our Parkinson’s Information Services (PINS).

Community Resources

If you are interested in accessing local community resources, you may wish to tap into the services of your local Agency on Aging (AoA). It can assist with such challenges as finding senior volunteer programs and community exercise groups, accessing Meals-on-Wheels and obtaining senior transportation. An AoA can often provide you with guidance and counseling on Medicare rules, in-home care and reverse mortgages and offer help with rebate checks and tax preparation (some even have AARP trained accountants that will do free basic tax preparation). An AoA may also organize community social activities, such as group trips to the theater or luncheons.

To find the office closest to you, contact AoA Eldercare at (800) 677-1116 or visit www.eldercare.gov.

Legal Advice

Another resource for older or disabled persons is the “Elder Law” Attorney, who can optimize resources to give clients the best quality of life. He or she can help with concerns about such matters as long-term care planning, in-home care resources, disability benefits, as well as pertinent provisions of the laws in your state. Keep in mind that an elder law attorney normally focuses specifically on one area of law, such as medical decision-making or estate tax and gift tax planning. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) offers a comprehensive list of the elder law attorneys in the US, searchable by state. To find an attorney, contact NAELA at (520) 881-4005 or visit www.naela.org.

Home Accommodation

If you are a homeowner who is interested in making necessary modifications and repairs, you may wish to contact Rebuilding Together. This nonprofit organization can implement handrails, ramps, non-slip surfaces on steps and more. To qualify for assistance, you must be a low income homeowner and either a senior, a person with a disability or someone raising a family with children. Rebuilding Together operates 225 affiliates throughout the US.

To find the affiliate closest to you, contact (800) 473-4229 or visit www.rebuildingtogether.org.

Employment Assistance

If you need advice on how Parkinson’s may affect your employment, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is available to assist you. JAN is a no-cost job consulting program designed to help people adapt their job skills to their current employment settings and to increase the employability of people with disabilities. A service the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) of the US Department of Labor, JAN can help you individualize physical work settings (by suggesting what are termed ‘accommodation solutions’ — e.g., creating an ergo nomic workstation). JAN also offers technical assistance regarding the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and other disability related legislation and helps callers identify options for self-employment.


Contact JAN at (800) 526-7234 or www.jan.wvu.edu.

Medication and Equipment Costs

You may need financial assistance for medications or equipment. Most pharmaceutical companies that manufacture PD medications offer limited drug assistance programs for the medically needy. Eligibility requirements for these programs can vary and often they are best accessed through your doctor.

To learn more, visit, www.pdf.org/en/meds_treatments.

The Melvin Weinstein Parkinson's Foundation (MWPF) provides help to people with PD experiencing financial difficulty, by providing eligible applicants with much needed durable medical equipment or other quality of life resources.

To find out if you qualify for assistance, contact MWPF at (757) 313-9729 or visit www.mwpf.org.

Other Resources

If you need more information on other national and local resources, please call our Parkinson’s Information Service (PINS) at (800) 457-6676, or email us info@pdf.org. We will do our best to find the resources you need to live well with PD.

Coming Soon ...

In January 2009, PDF plans to publish a comprehensive print and online Parkinson’s Disease Resource Guide to help you locate the services that you need to live better with PD. Check our next newsletter for details.