Receiving a diagnosis of a serious illness like Parkinson’s is a life-changing event that can disrupt every aspect of your life. Initially, you experience a range of emotions including fear, sadness, grief, despair, confusion, and more. But once the dust settles and you get a grip on your new reality, it’s important to know that you are not powerless. You have the power to choose how you respond. Will you fade into the shadows and let your diagnosis consume the rest of your life, or will you embrace the journey and find passion and purpose in the hand you’ve been dealt?
Meet Bob Harmon
In this episode of Sage Aging, I was thrilled to spend some time with Bob Harmon. Bob received his diagnosis of Parkinson’s in 2004. As you can imagine, it was a jarring event for Bob, his wife Cecily, and their two daughters, but with Cecily’s help, Bob quickly made a choice to own his journey and use his experience to affect change.
Take a deep breath!
I asked Bob what advice he would give to someone who is dealing with a new diagnosis. This was his response: “the most important thing I can say to you right now is take a deep breath. Stop, relax, and take a deep breath.” Of course, there is much to do beyond that, but taking a beat to let it sink in is a great place to start.
To hear Bob’s story and his advice for coping and living with Alzheimer’s, listen to Episode 20. If reading is more your style you’ll find the full transcript below.
Receiving a diagnosis of any kind can take an emotional toll on both the person receiving the diagnosis and their care partner and family. Knowing what to expect is key in coping with a new diagnosis. But it’s not just the physical symptoms that need attention. In this episode, we dig a little deeper into the conversation we had in episode 19 and explore some ways to not only cope with Parkinson’s but to continue to live a long active life full of purpose as you live with the disorder.
Links & Resources We Mentioned
- Connect with Bob Harmon – Bobharmon49@gmail.com
- Michael J. Fox Foundation
- Fox Trial Finder
- Parkinson’s Foundation
- David Spinney Foundation
- Episode 19 – An Introduction to Parkinson’s
Thanks for listening
If you found value in today’s conversation, I’d really appreciate it if you would leave a positive review and share the sage aging podcast with a friend. If you have topic ideas you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line at info@Sageaging.us
Sage Aging Episode 20
Guest: Bob Harmon
Liz Craven 00:00
Thank you for listening to the Sage Aging podcast. This episode is brought to you by Polk ElderCare Guide, your guide to all things senior care and resources available in both English and Spanish. You can find the guide at Polkeldercare.com.
Liz Craven 00:18
Everybody reacts to a serious diagnosis like Parkinson’s disease differently. I would venture to guess that almost every person’s first reaction is an emotional one. But once the dust settles some pretty common questions become clear. How do I live with Parkinson’s? How will it affect my family and where do I turn for support and resources? If you or someone you love has Parkinson’s, you’re in the right place and this is the podcast episode for you.
Liz Craven 01:00
Hi everyone and welcome back to the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. If you’re joining us for the first time, welcome. I’m really glad you’re here in this podcast will introduce you to experts in the field of aging will provide you with the information you need to make daily life easier. Like all of you, I was a family caregiver myself, and as a publisher of a senior resource guide. I understand how hard it is to come by good information. And I know that sometimes you just need to hear that everything will be okay. Our weekly conversations with industry professionals will leave you feeling confident that you’re not alone and empowered to celebrate and enjoy the aging and caregiving journey. Are you ready? Hit subscribe now let’s get started.
Liz Craven 01:54
Welcome to Episode 20 of the Sage Aging Podcast. I am so glad That you took a few minutes for yourself today and are going to spend some time with us to learn a little something. You deserve it, you deserve a break and I hope you find a few minutes to do that for yourself each day. If you were with us last week in Episode 19, we gave you a good overview of Parkinson’s disease and how it affects people physically. Knowing what to expect is key in coping with a new diagnosis. But it’s not just the physical symptoms that need attention. Receiving a diagnosis of any kind can take an emotional toll on both the person receiving the diagnosis and their care partner and family. So today we’re going to dig a little deeper and explore some ways to not only cope with Parkinson’s, but to continue to live a long active life full of purpose as you live with the disorder. My guest today is Bob Harmon. I first met Bob a few years ago when he invited me to be a guest speaker at the Parkinson’s support group that he leads. And I have to tell you impressive doesn’t even begin to describe Bob and his wife subtly. I was immediately taken by their positive energy and their spirit. And I could see how much the people that were in the support group loved them. And it was pretty inspiring. You might be thinking that so positive people aren’t so unusual, and that’s true. But what makes this different is that Bob lives with Parkinson’s himself. He has embraced his journey and is a leader in creating awareness, advocacy, and the hunt for a cure. He’s devoted himself to helping others through their journey and being an agent of change. I am so honored to have Bob with me today. Welcome, Bob, thank you so much for taking some time for me.
Bob Harmon 03:57
Thank you very much for having me today.
Liz Craven 04:00
Well, you know, it’s been a journey for you, you know, you and I have had a few conversations and to say the least, you are a very inspiring person I so admire how much you devote of yourself to others and to something that will make a difference in so many lives. And, you know, I think that when we face adversity in life, you’re going to find a couple types of people, you’re going to find people who have a very difficult time coping with that. And I’m not faulting people for that, you know, sometimes I think that we have personality traits that are God given. And then there are those who grab on to whatever it is they’re facing and find a way to make a difference and you, my friend fall into that category. So thank you for all you do.
Bob Harmon 04:50
Well, well, thank you very much. It’s, I didn’t know any other way to do it after talking to my wife about it. And we just figured we had a choice. roll off and crawl in a hole Go on, take hold of this thing and try to try to do something.
Liz Craven 05:03
Absolutely. Well, would you mind if we start off I would love to just hear a little bit about you and your story.
Bob Harmon 05:11
I’d be happy to. My journey, my Parkinson’s journey started in 2004 when I was having breakfast and I noticed a small tremor in my little pinky. I spent the next 18 months checking with my family doctor trying to figure out what was going on. I thought it was just old age coming in with a vengeance. In 2006. After a referral that I insisted upon to neurologists, I went to my first neurologist visit. I didn’t know what to expect, as I was walking into his office, he was standing in the hallway, waiting for me to come in. Little did I know that he was evaluating me at that time. I went in, sat down, and he said, Well, I guess you hear about your Parkinson’s. I was in shock. Obviously, you’re 57 I didn’t know anything about Parkinson’s other than Muhammad Ali had it Michael Fox had it and that didn’t look like it was going to be very much fun. I asked him how he knew. And he said it was because I shuffle my feet. I had no swinging my right arm by facial masking where my face was just stiff. And I had micrographia, which is small handwriting. And, oddly enough, no blink rate. My warning for those with people with Parkinson’s is don’t get into a blinking contest with them. You won’t be able to beat them. He said at that point, he said, Do you have any questions for me? And I said no, because I didn’t know what to do. And they gave me a prescription for limited open carbidopa. And I went back out to go to work. Well, I was walking or driving back to work. And I call my wife on the phone. And she said, Well, Honey, what did the doctor say? And I didn’t do very well burst into tears, said I have Parkinson’s. And she said, Oh, thank God. It’s not something that’s going to kill you. I stopped the car. I picked up the phone. I said, What the heck did you say to me, and she responded in the same way she goes honey and something we can take care of. And in that flash, I knew what I had to do. I couldn’t just walk away. It wasn’t something I could hide from. I had to go do it. I could do the best I could, and take care of it. And live out. Okay, as good a life as I could do. Actually, having Parkinson’s made me more conscientious of other people made me a better person. A lot of people don’t think that’s right. And I’m just saying thing. It really I left the corporate world I retire and I went out and started to go to work for people with Parkinson’s. We started a support group in 2000. And I started teaching Tai Chi in 2007. And the entire family takes part in clinical trials. I just speaking from growing Parkinson’s issues, and fundraising for the Michael J. Fox. So my retirement now has got more hours that I spent a week helping people Parkinson’s, and I did when I was working for my family.
Liz Craven 08:03
I bet that’s right, because I know I see you, you know, your efforts are constant, they don’t stop. I love that you have thrown yourself 100% into that not only for the awareness and fundraising but also participating in clinical trials.
Bob Harmon 08:19
Yeah, yes. In the last 14 years, I’ve been able to be in clinical trials for about 90% of the time, most of them with medication related others with information, but I found that it was something I could do to help others get the cure or get whatever we can to help with symptoms, because we’re not going to get those unless we go and help the researchers get into the market and get it all the way to the pharmacy shelves. So I jumped in and then took over that and became my doctor number a lab rat.
Liz Craven 08:54
Well, have you seen any of those trials that you’ve taken part in come to fruition?
Bob Harmon 09:00
Yes, I have to say I’ve seen some of them not make it. That happened the first five years. We want all five years and it didn’t happen. But we’ve had two or three of them go to market and are in the market today. One in particular, is the inhaler, which is out on the market now, which I was in a trial for, came off the trial and got a prescription just got FDA approved.
Liz Craven 09:23
Oh my gosh, that’s a recent one, isn’t it?
Bob Harmon 09:25
Yes, it is. I’ve been taking the drug for almost a year and a half now.
Liz Craven 09:29
Boy, if that’s not being an agent for change by participating in trials like that, and seeing it all the way through, I don’t know what is.
Bob Harmon 09:38
Well, it’s something pretty simple. You just have to sit around and write down what’s going on. You really don’t do anything in the trial. But if we don’t do this, the loan will never get through the market. It will just die in the wasteland between the aha moment and me getting the drug at the pharmacy. So to me After the first needle state that didn’t matter. The thing I’m probably most proud about the trial aspect of it. My kids have done trials. Cecily has done a trial including seven years of what I considered invasive spinal taps, to find a biomarker, which that intimate information now that data from what she’s done over the last seven or eight years, is now in the hands of researchers all around the world.
Liz Craven 10:27
That’s incredible. That is a commitment to have a spinal tap.
Bob Harmon 10:30
That’s what I told her.
Liz Craven 10:34
So it sounds then like anybody can participate in a trial.
Bob Harmon 10:39
Well, that’s true, they’ll be certain criteria that you have to meet, but care partners. Well, we’d love to have them in the trials too, because they gave us the background data that can show the norm. Without norm, you don’t know what the other items are. So to find if there’s something going on in the blood that can in fact, tell That you have Parkinson’s, which was a big draw she was in, you have to look at the blood in the spinal taps, look at the spinal fluids to see what’s normal for people her age and then check it against those with Parkinson’s. So that was pretty fascinating to be involved in that.
Liz Craven 11:14
Yeah, it really is. So how would someone find out if there is a trial accessible to them?
Bob Harmon 11:21
There are a number of ways most of them are around the research areas in the country, where there are big universities, where their movement disorder specialists, which are people who specialized in Parkinson’s. And then the Michael J. Fox Foundation has a tool called trial finder, that logs in all of the trials that come to them and tell them they’ve done the trial and give them the data and then have some go into that computer program anonymously. And look at trials if that you’re interested in click on the way links you there anonymously again, when you decide if you want to be in it, you make a connection to the lab and you go forward from there. So That’s a pretty easy online tool. And all the movement disorder specialists probably all have a research arm, what they’re doing. And if you get involved with any one of them, by Gosh, they’ll find you. And if you’re at all interested in your trial, they’ll help you get one.
Liz Craven 12:17
Fantastic. Didn’t you have some part in creating the tool that’s on the Michael J. Fox Foundation website?
Bob Harmon 12:24
Yes. I just was part of when I first went to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. I told him, give me any test you want to give me just make me go to work and help you do that. And they said we’ll come back and look at this trial and see what you think about it. And we actually worked with them giving our basic concerns to the researchers who were creating the format for the trial Finder. And they were able to take some of that and have a product that been doing trials now for probably 10 years.
Liz Craven 12:56
Wow. That’s amazing. Wow, well let’s shift gears for a moment and talk about so you know, you described what it was like when you received your diagnosis. Looking back on that, were there things leading up to that, that you’re now saying? Oh, my goodness, yes, I did notice there was a difference, but just didn’t know to connect it.
Bob Harmon 13:19
But yeah, well, no, not really. I was so a little oblivious to it that I just never crossed my mind as I looked at my finger shaking in the morning. When does that I guess I’m just getting old. And I just put it all off the old age and arthritis. But Had I known that my right arm stopped swinging. And Had I known that my posture was bent over. I would have gone ahead and asked a question, but I didn’t know I didn’t have a clue. And it’s kind of funny. My niece who is a nurse up in the northeast, saw me the week before I got my diagnosis. And she said to my sister whenever well for a walk with us, she said I think Bob has Parkinson’s. And seven days later I was diagnosed.
Liz Craven 14:04
Wow. Because it sounds like the symptoms are fairly subtle unless you’re looking for them.
Bob Harmon 14:10
They can be. There’s a whole list of things that we don’t ever talk about. And I don’t think this is a forum to do it because we’ll spend the next hour and a half saying words that I don’t know how to pronounce number one, and number two people won’t understand. But if you have a tremor that is a potential for pain, Parkinson’s, stiffness, and slowness of movement that was talking about last week or two of the other categories. As I look back on it and look into specific things that we looked at for Parkinson’s it’s a tremor and rigidity. I had the rigidity I said, That’s arthritis, slowness of movement, I thought was old age and posture was just I was hunched over, but I also had a soft voice, had a shuffling gait, stooped posture, loss of arm swing could Right, I didn’t blink and never thought about it. I also had sleep disorders, restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea, rapid eye movement disorder, which is fighting out in your dreams. So while I’m in bed sleeping, I’m fighting a battle with swinging my arms around lightheadedness, other things that are motor-related symptoms that are there but are just not connected. You don’t connect the dots. And in addition to that, there’s probably another 30 other clues that don’t get connected on it. Just don’t connect the dots. But when that neurologist stood there and saw it coming down, he connected the dots. My doctor didn’t see me and tell me it was my diet for two years. Never saw me walk into his office. But if I had, I was all stiff. So I never thought about Parkinson’s because again, what’s Parkinson’s? That’s an old person to do. Well, no, it’s not. There’s young onset of Parkinson’s, which is under the age of 50. I was 57. So I was right on the verge of that threshold. And who would think that I would get an old person’s disease, but it’s not. And it seems to be growing.
Liz Craven 16:13
Right? Well, I think the latest statistic that I saw was that worldwide we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 million people who have the disorder, which from last year statistic of 6 million. That seems like a pretty big jump and numbers to me.
Bob Harmon 16:32
Well, I think it is, and we don’t know why we’ve got theories on why, but we don’t have any proof as of right yet. We think it’s partially genetic, a small portion right portion right now, and then we may be environmental. So we may be doing this to ourselves, but only time will tell. You go into the research and see to see if we can find the cause. And you got to find a cause before you can find a cure.
Liz Craven 16:57
Absolutely. Well, therein lies the importance Have research and awareness, just like many other diseases that we’ve seen, I recall when I was much younger, how a diagnosis of breast cancer was pretty much a death sentence, and not anymore. It’s, you know, awareness and research. And people like you who are putting themselves out there to help to find these cures for things that we’re faced with that we just don’t know enough about. And I feel the same way about this and Alzheimer’s as well. That the more awareness we create, and the more research we can do, the better poised we’re going to be to find a solution.
Bob Harmon 17:39
I think that’s true. And I think there’s some commonality in my mind, and I’m just a guy with Parkinson’s. There’s some commonality in my mind between Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. There is a certain part of Parkinson’s which has a dementia issue on some of the patients on the similar to processes that we see in the research. Have all timers. So to me, shout out for those with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s who go out for trials because I think we get one for one. We’ll get it for both.
Liz Craven 18:09
I agree with you. So let’s go back to Okay, somebody has now received a diagnosis, and they’re reeling. And you know what that’s like you’ve been there. What now? What do I do now? Because I bet there are people listening who are asking themselves that question.
Bob Harmon 18:28
Well, to those and the most important thing I can say to you right now is take a deep breath. Stop, relax, and take a deep breath. My wife said, at least it’s not going to kill you. And we can deal with this. But once you’ve gotten the diagnosis, and you get over the taking a pill finding out if it works, and working yourself into the routine of purposes, the first thing I did was I got information. I went out on the internet, which has a lot of excellent sources, it has some sources to be careful But if you go to ones that are associated with Parkinson’s, generally speaking, there, they give you excellent information. Michael J, Fox Foundation, Parkinson’s Foundation, David Spinney Foundation, all the places that I’ve gone and found trusted information. There are a lot of crazy things out there. But if you look carefully, and you do your research, you can wheel wheel your way through that. I read about 200 to 300 articles a month on trials and drugs and things of that nature. And some of them are short and some of them are bogus, but there is good stuff in there. So that’s a good place for information. Second thing I would do is I would start a support group because there wasn’t one near nearby, but if there’s one nearby, I would go to them. The reason I’d go to one is because you’re going to get information that’s good. You’re going to meet people like yourself, who may be in a different track and then the disease in a different timing of the disease. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be like that. You’re their age. But it’s good to have people that you can talk to who have had the problems and can give you support. And that’s including the care partners. We don’t do enough for our care partners as the UN are working our way now to try and get some more or get some better help for the care partners. They don’t have the disease. They don’t have to be there. They have all the stress of taking care of their loved ones, but they stay around. And we need to keep them healthy and we need to get them relief so that they don’t burn themselves out. So having programs as well when you go and look, is a good question to ask if they don’t look a little farther. Maybe you have one then but maybe they could build one with you. Joining in and say I’ll run this and I’ll call Cecily and she’ll help me through. The most important thing I think they can do is exercise. It is it has been found to slow the progression of the disease. It’s easy, you don’t have to be a football player or a weightlifter or a marathon runner. You just have to somebody who goes out and fuses it every day, do some kind of exercise to keep yourself healthy. I teach Tai Chi. We have been doing that for seven years now on that is really, really significantly effective. And balance balances a problem with people with apartments is we’ve had a class, knock on wood, where we’ve not had any falls in nine years. We’ve been very fortunate again, as I say, but it was an environment where it’s slow. And we can adjust to people’s needs, dance, yoga, things where there’s a cadence always helps an exercise. A yoga is pretty safe, keep doing your hobbies. You got to have something to get up for every day. My theory is if I hadn’t found something by 630 in the morning to get up for I got to get up and go look because I’m missing an opportunity to do Do something. So if I’m getting out of bed, that means I’m not sitting in bed, which means I’m using it, which is again, use it or lose it. social interaction. Don’t back away because you think you looking firm, go out in the public doesn’t matter if you go out and you drop soup all over yourself in a restaurant, who cares? Go out and use your mind and your social skills, and your friends, enjoy your life, get some joy out of every day you can do and if you can get some joy for yourself and get some joy for somebody else. I always answer the question when somebody says How you doing? I always answer fantastic. I do that for a reason. It makes me feel good to say that. And you know, it makes them smile. And it just doesn’t cost a thing. You’re just I feel fantastic. And I’m sitting here with a smile on my face because I’ve just said that I hope somebody out there
Liz Craven 22:51
I am. I’m grinning ear to ear. I was just thinking that myself. Well, thank you. You just gave me a very big smile.
Bob Harmon 22:59
Great And then lastly in this category, mental games. So do go puzzles, brain train cards, anything where you’re using your mind, you’ve got to keep using your mind, keep it sharp. If you don’t keep it short, it will go away. And I don’t know that you can get it back. So don’t don’t take the chance. Use your brain every day, something, just just something to keep it active and moving.
Liz Craven 23:27
That’s all really great advice. And you know, I think, whether or not you’re living with Parkinson’s, those are all things that we should be looking to every single day no matter who we are. Find your passion. find things that bring you joy, find a way to be a light for somebody else. Gosh, those are just the best principles to live by.
Bob Harmon 23:51
Well, there are a lot a lot of smarter people who thought I’m a thief and five years
Liz Craven 23:57
sometimes I think we all should steal that one. I’m doing that even more than I do. I know for me, I tend to be that silver lining kind of person and I want to be a light for others every single day. And I think some days I do really well. But there are other days when I don’t do that so well and so I’ll continue to work on that. Because just like you that makes me feel amazing that I can be a light for someone else.
Bob Harmon 24:25
Well, I’m a golfer, and didn’t play golf, never played golf without having Parkinson’s. When I learned the game, and I tell somebody that you take away on the day something good, that’s a victory. For me. It would be getting a seven score on a par three with a 21 foot putt and say that was a really good putt, get it get that seven, bring out the good mean the baddest move on?
Liz Craven 24:51
Absolutely. So let’s shift focus now to living with Parkinson’s from the perspective of your care partner and family. What kind of advice do you have for someone who may be they’re just starting their journey together through Parkinson’s? And you know, they want to know how best to support them. But also you touched on it a little bit earlier how to best care for themselves at the same time?
Bob Harmon 25:21
Well, I think they have to understand the disease as much as they can, as well as the patient. It’s not all on the patient. Because we may not remember everything. They’ve got to be a joined party. They don’t have to stay and do it. But if they’re going to be in the game, they should have their money in the in the in the game. So churches, support groups, people where they can get out and get to people who aren’t going to talk about Parkinson’s to get some relief, easy to say, hard to do, because they’re always care partnering, but I think they should engage. One of the things we found in our caring and sharing where the partner are in another room to the patients and they talk about each other. And it’s it’s wonderful because we don’t share who’s saying what, obviously. But the conversation isn’t usually going, someone don’t listen and say, they just make me work too fast. I don’t have time to get ready, I can’t do it. And the other side is saying that just so slow. And that’s true. Both of them are saying the same thing. Both of them don’t understand the same person, the same thought process is being had by their spouse. So they need to talk about
Liz Craven 26:34
you know that something that Jenny mentioned last week, she said that one of the biggest things as a care partner, is to make sure that you are showing them patience, because you can’t hurry someone whose brain won’t let them hurry.
Bob Harmon 26:52
You can if you want them to fall down, right? I mean, I’m a big fan and I falling down Yes, sir. But it also goes to another part of being engaged is and I throw this in kind of as an outlier for us, um, is building a team, with the family, with the care partner and the patient. And in that team, everybody’s got, quote, skin in the game. Everybody’s involved in, in what’s happening. And then I want to put that together with the care givers, doctors and nurses and therapists and that people like that are also part of the puzzle. And if you can put together a team have like a like a stool with three legs, one being the doctor, one being patient and one being the care partner and work together and getting consensus of what’s going on. So that the doctor has the best opportunity to help cure some of those problems. My what my daughter I have twin daughters. First time, one of them went to the neurology visit, and I’m saying this and everything’s fine. And she ratted me out. You can’t do this, you fell last week, you’re not telling the doctor and I came away with a really reasonable conclusion. That care partner has a 100% free card, get out of jail, pass on reading out somebody who won’t tell the doctor. If he doesn’t know what’s wrong, he can work to fix it. Because Parkinson’s despite everything we said, it’s called a snowflake disease. No two patients are the same. I think Ginny referred to that last week. So having a care partner be involved in everything that goes on, especially in the doctor’s office is so so important because you miss things you don’t even people without Parkinson’s don’t hear everything in the doctor’s office. They miss it. So having someone there who’s listening who’s helping The doctor make the decisions, who’s engaged, who is doing everything they can to be part of the process is such a valuable, valuable asset.
Liz Craven 29:10
That sounds like you really have that situation to it’s very impressive. And I’m happy that you have that. I am blessed with it. And the other thing that’s so impressive to me about you is how you’ve embraced this journey and not just you. But your family has embraced this journey. And you all have linked arms and found passion and purpose through it. And it’s really incredible how you took something that could have been such a negative piece of your life and made it probably the piece that will affect the most people and do the most good.
Bob Harmon 29:47
Well, I didn’t do it alone. When I told our daughters when we got the diagnosis, one daughter was coming back to school. They’re both in college and the other one was coming back two weeks later, we told the one who was excited First and said, You can’t tell your twin sister, as we’re going to tell her in person. When she came home, the daughter came down and was there when the second daughter was told to be there and say, I’ve done all this research and here, here, we’re okay. And that’s kind of thing the family was able to bring up the first wall to help us fight this disease and so that each one of us understood, each one of us was in the deal. And I am blessed to have had a family that did that.
Liz Craven 30:33
So you mentioned a few things before. I think we’re getting to that place where we’re going to wrap up and talk about some favorite resources. You mentioned a couple of websites and by the way, listeners, we will have all of these things noted for you in the show notes. You’ll also find them in the blog post for Episode 19. Nope, I’m sorry, Episode 20. You’ll definitely want to go back and listen To Episode 19, if you didn’t, because some of the things we’re talking about today, really reflect on the conversation that we had last week we had Jenny Wolf with us she is a Parkinson’s as educator and also runs a Parkinson’s Support Group, a wealth of information in Episode 19. So go back and listen to that. But all of the resources that we’re mentioning today, you will find those including links in the show notes and the blog post for Episode 20 at Sage aging.us. So make note of that. So do you have some additional favorite books or websites or blogs or other resources you’d like to mention Bob?
Bob Harmon 31:43
I think I mentioned all of them. In about so far. The movement disorder specialists can get you to places that are safe. The all of the foundations have educational of Parkinson’s Foundation has a wonderful a library of free information and it’s available to people about medication, moods, therapies, all those kinds of things. The Fox Foundation has the trial Finder. It also has a one of the largest trials they’ve ever done for information or Big Data trial. It can look at Parkinson’s over the years, I’ve been doing it for 26 quarters. We were also part of the pain of that. But all of those the major players in the industry have good information.
Liz Craven 32:30
And we will link all of those up.
Bob Harmon 32:32
I would like to say something a little off what you just asked. And I think it’s a quote from Michael J. Fox that I’ve stolen. But I guess I’ve given him credit. And he was asked, How do you How can you be so optimistic? And the answer is ‘if you can get caught up in the worst-case scenario, and it doesn’t happen. You’ve wasted your time and emotional capital. If it does happen, you’ve lived it twice.’
Bob Harmon 33:04
Liz Craven 33:06
Wow. That’s very impactful.
Bob Harmon 33:09
We live by that.
Liz Craven 33:11
Thank you for sharing that. I think that is a great note to leave on. Bob, thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate your willingness to share so much of yourself with other people. And I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, you’re an inspiration. And you certainly deserve to be celebrated for all that you do to help other people. So thank you.
Bob Harmon 33:33
Thank you very much. Thanks for all you do.
Liz Craven 33:36
It’s my pleasure. My pleasure. And thank all of you for listening in. I really do appreciate that you take a few minutes out of your day each week to spend with me, and you’ll find a new episode every Tuesday morning in your playlist if you’re subscribed. If you haven’t subscribed yet, I hope that you’ll take a minute to do that. Next week we’ll be chatting with Charlotte MC Henry of the senior connection center. To answer the single most frequent question that I hear as a publisher of a senior resource guide, and that is, how do I find resources in my local community. That’s an episode you don’t want to miss. So be sure to subscribe to the show. And you’ll have that easy access in your playlist next week. If you found value in today’s conversations or any of the conversations that we’d have had in the past, I’d really appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to leave us a review. You can do that on Facebook or through your favorite podcast app and share this age aging podcast with a friend that really is the most important part. Share what you are benefiting from here with somebody else. If you have topic ideas you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you. drop me a line at info at Sage aging.us. That’ll do it for today friends until next time, make it a great day.
**The Sage Aging podcast is brought to you by Polk ElderCare Guide. A comprehensive senior resource guide empowering you to navigate the aging and caregiving journey successfully.
As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.
Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.
Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.
The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.
Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.
Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.