APDA American Parkinson Disease Association
Information & Referral Center

Working with PD (Employment)

Relevant Publications - Downloadable

“Employment With PD: Working it Out,” by Linda Herman
Published by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, Reprinted from the PDF News & Review, Fall 2005
This 2-page fact sheet is the personal experience of the author addressing her diagnosis with PD at the age of 45, her decision to tell her employer, protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and reasonable accommodations that worked for 10 years.  She recommends getting further information from the Job Accommodations Network.

“Sharing Your Parkinson’s Diagnosis at Work,” by Rachel Dolhun, MD, and Marti Fischer
Published by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, October 9, 2015
This 3-page PDF is Part I of a two-part guide to help navigate the ins and outs of talking about Parkinson’s at work.  It provides practical tips and tools for crafting a personalized strategy to bring Parkinson’s into the workplace.

“Talking about Parkinson’s at Work,” by Rachel Dolhun, MD, and Marti Fischer
Published by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, May 26, 2017
This 5-page PDF is Part II of a two-part guide to help navigate the ins and outs of talking about Parkinson’s at work.  It recommends strategies for continuing conversation, handling common reactions and situations, and managing long-term professional relationships.

Relevant Online Information

“4 Ways Parkinson’s Disease Might Influence Your Job Performance Review,” by Dr. Paul Short
Published by LinkedIn, January 19, 2016
Symptoms of parkinson’s disease can be perceived as personality flaws rather than neurological change. Promotions, raises, bonuses, even continued employment may be at stake unless you share some basic information about 4 common symptoms of PD with your employer.

“8 + Parkinson’s = 12 Hour Workday,” by Dr. Paul Short
Published by LinkedIn, August 29, 2016
This short web page recommends that when a working person with Parkinson’s begins to notice doing their job takes an inordinate amount of time, it is time to talk with the boss about what he/she can do to help.

“Common ADA Employment Law Issues,” by Mark Rubin, JD
Published by the National Parkinson Foundation
This webpage addresses four common questions related to working with Parkinson’s disease, including when should I tell my employer, what accommodations should I ask for, what to do if I feel I am being discriminated against on the basis of disability, and what if I’m really not able to keep doing my job - even with accommodations.

“I’m Ill, but Who Really Needs to Know?” by Lisa Belkin
Published by the New York Times, February 21, 2008
This is a comparison of different paths taken in disclosing chonic or long-term illness on the job, the protections offered US employees by the Americans with Disabilities Act and successes and failures of employers to follow the spirit of the law, and the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) as a useful resource.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN), Accommodation Ideas for Parkinson’s Disease
Published by the US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
It is the leading source of free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.  On this page can be found both the text and audio versions of the Accommodation and Compliance Series: Employees with Parkinson’s Disease, and Effective Accommodation Practices Series: Parkinson’s Disease.

“Navigating Employment, Insurance, Financial and Legal Matters”
Published by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation
This page gets you thinking about planning for your financial future and your employment situation with links to: 
Finding Financial Assistance and Saving on Medications, Tips and Resources for Legal Issues, designating your agent for health care and financial power-of-attorney, Medicaid, and Employment Concerns.

“Parkinson’s and Employment”
Published by the Michael J. Fox Foundation
This webpage addresses whether Parkinson’s disease will affect the ability to work, protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act, if and when to tell an employer and what happens financially if one can no longer work.

“Parkinson’s Disease and the Work Place,” by Dr. Maria De Leon
Published by DefeatParkinson’s.com, August 10, 2016
This blog post addresses six things to consider with respect to your job after a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, including whether and when to tell your boss, ways to relieve undue work stress, prepare yourself for having to quit or change jobs, whether any aspect of your PD interferes with your work - even mood, and financial planning - both short and long term.

“What to Tell Your Boss and Coworkers About Parkinson’s,” by Patrick McNamara, PhD.
Published by VeryWell.com, May 10, 2017
This webpage suggests learning enough about Parkinson’s disease to be able to answer questions before telling your boss or coworkers.  There are several talking points for dealing with misconceptions and concerns.  Then, understand your rights under the American’s with Disabilities Act, before asking specific questions of your company’s benefits personnel.

“When and How Should I Talk to My Employer and My Coworkers?” by Jackie Hunt Christensen
Published by the National Parkinson Foundation
This webpage discusses the advantages of telling your boss sooner than later, how to share your condition at work, and contacting the Job Accommodation Network.

Relevant Online Lectures and Webinars

“Legal Issues: Planning Ahead When You are Living with Parkinson’s”
By the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, January 13, 2010
This 1-hour webinar presented by elder law attorney, Janna Dutton, discusses navigating the legal issues that face people living with Parkinson’s disease.  Issues covered include care plans, advanced directives and wills.

This list of resources was compiled by Denise Dagan for the Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach Program, June 2017.

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