What is optimism

The ability to find the positive in situations and events. Focusing on the challenges Parkinson’s disease presents, whether actual or potential, is a natural tendency. The person who has Parkinson’s should look ahead and to plan for the future but do so with the sense that the future will include joys and pleasures as well as challenges. Most people who have Parkinson’s find that day to day life does not change much for quite some time after diagnosis. There is every reason for most people with Parkinson’s disease to enjoy years and even decades doing what makes them happy and sharing their life with friends and family as they always have.

Optimism is looking at the reality of a situation and choosing to feel and act in ways that make the best of it. It is acknowledging that there are challenges and finding ways to meet them. Most importantly, optimism is living each day for the joy of the day itself as well as expecting that tomorrow will have its own joys. Health care professionals know that the people with chronic illness who do best are those who can find the positive in less than ideal circumstances. There is no one, regardless of health status, who can afford to waste today worrying about tomorrow, and the person with Parkinson’s is no exception.

There is more hope for a Parkinson’s cure today than there has been at any other time since James Parkinson identified the disease that bears his name, and people with Parkinson’s have good reason to believe they can manage the course of their disease to an extent to which its interference with everyday life is minimal. New and exciting research that is taking place is rapidly expanding what scientists know and understand about Parkinson’s disease, leading to different ways of looking at treatment options and to new treatments. When the people who are today being diagnosed with

Parkinson’s were born, there was no effective treatment for the disease. Today there are so many options that physicians use a treatment algorithm a chart of symptoms and approaches for managing them to help them decide what treatments are likely to be most effective. Barely a generation ago there was a single treatment for Parkinson’s disease levodopa. Although levodopa remains the cornerstone of Parkinson’s treatment today there are numerous other medications to fine-tune symptom control and others in various stages of clinical research trials.