Dave’s blog: Christmas is Coming… I bet that headline got you going! Christmas is always such an emotive time. You’ll be pleased to know, though, that I’m not going anywhere near it at this time. I’m actually not allowed to. My wife’s birthday is exactly 4 weeks from Christmas, so I don’t ever buy a single present until my wife’s birthday has been properly celebrated. So, have you ever thought about how much the little things change when you are diagnosed with Parkinson’s? There are, of course, negative impacts on your life and lifestyle. I have friends who have had to move house to somewhere on one level (but usually with significantly less storage, I have found). Some have even moved closer to their children; ours live a long way away, Lincoln and London. Sometimes it’s nice, sometimes it’s a bit of a challenge, but that is only geography. If I want to see them (and this is really cool) I can just do a WhatsApp video call- absolutely amazing if you ask me- or ‘Zoom’ them? Guess it’s fine if you can use the technology, although I know my more elderly, less tech-orientated friends just wouldn’t have a clue. I think, though, if you want to make life easier, you should learn how to interact with the world of technology. I have found that there are also some ‘benefits’ to being a PwP, although I know I would rather have my old life back as a firefighter; but that, sadly, will never happen. We must concentrate on the present instead. We must be mindful and live in the moment. The past is gone, and you can’t change it. The future is something that hasn’t even happened yet. We should all be concentrating on things we can actually change. Glad I got that off my chest; it is something I live by, and it has never let me down. Anyway, the first positive thing is being able to get a Blue Badge (if you are eligible you should apply). When I am going through a “wobbly” stage, it is a life saver, and means that you can often park right in the centre of town- that is, unless some thoughtful person has parked in the “Disabled” parking bay, because it’s near the entrance and it’s raining! I personally think these people shouldn’t be fined; they should be given community service to spend a day with a disabled person, in order to see what it’s like. (Sorry, editor- controversial?). Another positive is the help I get to get to entertainment venues… Did you know, most Football League clubs give you a FREE Carer’s ticket for matches (if you get PIP at an enhanced level). You can also, very often, get a Carer’s ticket to look around English and Scottish Heritage properties. We used this when we were in Stirling recently; we only needed to buy one adult ticket and my wife got in for free. You can also ask for assistance when you go to an airport, due to your disability (and, yes, you are classed as “disabled”!)- the help is there if you wish to use it. You get through security quicker, and you don’t have to queue to get on the aeroplane. Next time you go on holiday, ask about it! My kids, when they were with us visiting Disneyland, used to call me the “Human Fast Pass” which, as long as you check in at Customer Services, allows you to “queue jump” on every ride. This is really good for the kids; but, you have to go once on every ride. When you’re on your 5th ride in a row, it can be a bit tedious (and make you feel slightly ill)! So, as well as parking, airport assistance, football season ticket, castle visits, what else is there? There’s also Motability, a charity that helps to supply cars and electric wheelchairs to people who are on enhanced PIP; it pays for the lease, servicing, tyres, insurance, and everything in between. You keep the car for 3 years, so no MoT to pay, and then you simply hand it back and when you do, if you look after it, you get a Good Condition Bonus; they actually give you money back, which you can put towards a new car! How cool is that? If you don’t need a car, you can also use your PIP towards a powered scooter; I think they’ve got most things covered. That’s it for now! I’m off to organise another Charco event (yes, it’s me!) so you can be kept informed and encouraged by a number of different experts, professionals, and inspirational PwP. Keep on Moving! David L.