Six quotes to live by, from the Parkinson’s Life podcast guests

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Author: Johanna Stiefler JohnsonPublished: 2 December 2021

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A composite image of some of our podcast guests.

The Parkinson’s Life podcast has just won gold at this year’s International Content Marketing Awards, beating stiff competition to come in first in the ‘Best Branded Podcast’ category. To celebrate, we share six of the most valuable insights our guests have shared over two series


When we launched a podcast in 2019, our goal was to tackle the stories that matter to people with Parkinson’s disease – sharing varied perspectives on life, offering useful tips and resources to listeners and putting the voices of people with the condition at the front and centre.

Two years later, the podcast has just struck gold once again, earning the top spot for ‘Best Branded Podcast’ at the prestigious International Content Marketing Awards 2021. Announcing the award in a virtual ceremony, judge Trygve Tønnessen, senior creative at Geelmuyden Kiese, congratulated the team on a “great podcast about a very important topic”.

Of course, this would have been impossible without the guests who have been willing to share their stories with us. Their contributions have helped to spark conversations on everything from fitness and food, to sex and relationships, to parenting and the pandemic – with many laughs, touching moments and connections made along the way.

The Parkinson’s Life team hope this achievement will help to raise awareness of the important stories that people in the Parkinson’s community have to tell – and the advice they can offer to others with the condition.

Take a look at some our guests’ top tips and useful insights on living with Parkinson’s.

“Be real about what you can do on any given day. Life is going to change, but you’ll move forward”

When Canada-based broadcaster Larry Gifford and American blogger Allison Toepperwein discussed parenting with Parkinson’s, they opened up about some of the challenges they’ve faced – from managing symptoms through childcare, to trying to explain their condition to young kids.

“Be real about what you can do on any given day,” said Larry, reflecting on his own experiences. “Life is going to change, but you’ll move forward.”

Allison added: “Move while you can, do as much with your kids, for your kids, as you can. And build these amazing memories of quality time.”

Listen to ‘Parenting with Parkinson’s’.

“Diet is one of the missing pieces of the puzzle in terms of helping people live with Parkinson’s better”

After she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Ireland-based dietician Richelle Flanagan was disappointed by the lack of information available about how to eat well with the condition.

US celebrity chef Zarela Martinez, who joined her in an episode dedicated to cooking and eating agreed: “In my whole [experience of] Parkinson’s, nobody’s ever talked to me about nutrition.”

The two shared their tips on enjoying time spent in the kitchen, cooking delicious meals – and maintaining a diet that can help to make Parkinson’s more manageable. “I think it’s one of the missing pieces of the puzzle in terms of helping people live with Parkinson’s better,” said Richelle.

Listen to ‘How to eat well with Parkinson’s’.

“One year is not enough to change the world. But we can change us”

Four people with Parkinson’s from around the world came together virtually to explore how life has changed during the pandemic – and the lessons they’ll be taking forward, in a podcast episode sponsored by Kyowa Kirin International.

Sharing their unique experiences of Covid-19, they discussed the challenges they’d faced – but also acknowledged some of the positives that have come from a difficult time, including developments in technology and new connections made online.

For Dr Maren Neumann-Aukthun, a former veterinarian based in Germany, innovations that emerged during the pandemic have offered hope for the future of Parkinson’s care. “One year is not enough to change the world,” she said. “But we can change us… and so that makes me happy and optimistic.”

Listen to ‘Lessons learned from the pandemic’.

“A good night’s sleep makes such a difference”

In an episode exploring the link between Parkinson’s and sleep disturbance, advanced nurse practitioner Brian Magennis caught up with married couple Cormac and Mary Mehigan – whose sleep had been disrupted by Cormac’s condition.

The trio discussed how Parkinson’s can impact sleep, from insomnia to vivid dreams; the steps worth taking to improve shuteye, including fewer daytime naps; and the invaluable role sleep plays in managing Parkinson’s symptoms. “The day after a good night’s sleep,” said Cormac, “I’m buzzing. It makes such a difference.”

Brian, whose father has Parkinson’s, agreed: “When people have a good night’s sleep, they’re actually much better from a motor point of view.”

Listen to ‘How to sleep well with Parkinson’s’.

“It’s really important to try and ensure that you are in control of your Parkinson’s, rather than your Parkinson’s being in control of you”

Life with Parkinson’s disease can pose many challenges – but after 20 years with the condition, Colin Cheesman is still new finding ways to stay positive. Talking about what it’s like to live with ‘advanced’ Parkinson’s in an episode sponsored by Britannia Pharmaceuticals, Colin and consultant geriatrician Dr Nishantha Silva discussed what changes can be expected as the condition progresses – and how to manage them.

Inspired by Colin’s “inspirational” attitude – which saw him learn to rollerblade at the age of 70 – Nishantha shared his advice for people with Parkinson’s: “There are many things you can do. It’s never too late to develop new hobbies, and new personal connections and to do different things.”

Colin explained that his positive outlook is crucial to managing the condition. “It’s really important to try and ensure that you are in control of your Parkinson’s, rather than your Parkinson’s being in control of you,” he said. “I think once you let the condition lead where you go, you lose a degree of independent decision-making. So you’ve got to try and get your head round – with all the support there is – what the possibilities are.”

Listen to ‘Living with advanced Parkinson’s’.

“Life is bigger than Parkinson’s”

An episode exploring how women experience Parkinson’s differently from men saw three campaigners with the condition share their stories.

From delayed diagnosis, to feeling out-of-place in the community, to experiencing challenges with medication during menstruation – the guests agreed on the importance of addressing the gender gap in Parkinson’s research.

Sharing her advice to others experiencing similar difficulties, Mariette Robijn – who joined fellow bloggers Omotola Thomas and Sharon Krischer on the podcast – said: “Just remember, Parkinson’s is a big thing, but life for me is bigger than Parkinson’s.”

Listen to ‘Women and Parkinson’s’.


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