Working with PD
As unique as each person's journey is with Parkinson's, the question of whether you can continue to work is also unique to each person's situation. Because everyone with Parkinson's progresses at different rates and is diagnosed at different ages and stages of life, it can be difficult to discern when to stop working. Some people may be far from retirement when they receive their Parkinson's diagnosis. It is important to remember that a diagnosis of Parkinson's does not mean your career is over. People work with Parkinson's for many years.
Factors that can contribute to the decision depend on the demands of your job and whether or not your current employers and coworkers are willing to make accommodations to your work to best fit your abilities with PD.
Some people are reluctant to share their diagnosis with their coworkers. And by law - you are protected to not disclose your condition. However, there can be some advantages to disclosing your condition to your boss and coworkers, especially if your symptoms impact work performance or become more noticeable.
The Americans and Disabilities Act (ADA) was created to keep employers from discriminating against people with certain health conditions. While every work setting is different, you must be comfortable with your choice. One of the best questions you can ask yourself is if your job impacts the health and safety of others.
The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees as long as they do not impose an "undue hardship" on the employer's business. A reasonable accommodation is defined as "any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions. Working with an occupational therapist can help you identify different tools and tricks to adapt the work environment to meet your needs as the disease progresses."
The U.S. Department of Labor provides the Job Accommodations Network (JAN) to provide information about increasing the employability of people with disabilities by providing individualized worksite accommodations.
Tips for Incorporating Job Comfort and Safety
Consider all required tasks within your workday. If possible, schedule the most challenging tasks at the time of day you feel most rested and mobile. Schedule breaks as needed.
Make tasks easier by using technology. Investigate computer hardware/software adaptations. Try a Dictaphone if your handwriting makes writing messages difficult, or use a headset on the telephone to improve posture and mobility.
Seek an ergonomic assessment to make sure your desk or workstation is designed to reduce unsafe or inefficient movement. Change position often, taking frequent stretch breaks.
Use good body mechanics when lifting, carrying, bending, and stooping. Use a cart to transport items if carrying things becomes more difficult.
Delegate or trade more challenging tasks to others when possible.
Maximize the benefits of your medication. Use a pill timer to make certain you are on time with every dose.
Intersperse sedentary tasks with more active ones.
Explore job share or flex time options if available.
Applying for Disability
If you have reached a point where you think you may be eligible for Disability in Alabama, it may be time to apply. Social Security offers an online disability application at your convenience. You can apply from the comfort of your home or any Social Security office location most convenient to you. You do not need to drive to your local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security Representative. You can learn more about how to apply for benefits at the link below:
Disclaimer: At PAA, our desire is to be a GO TO Resource for everything you need for the Parkinson's diagnosis to live a quality life with PD. We want to make sure you have all resources you need as you plan your journey with Parkinson's now and into the future so that you can reflect and discern what decisions you want to make with the appropriate insights to help you choose and build a plan that is unique as your journey. The PAA, nor the contents on this website, should never be a replacement for professional expertise and guidance from medical, legal, or financial professionals. Our goal is to equip you for those conversations. As such, the PAA cannot be held accountable for your choices and outcomes while navigating your Parkinson's condition.
Alabama Social Security - Applying for Disability Benefits. www.ssa.gov/applfordisability.