"What? We Parkies can get Frisbees, you say? Cool!" No, no no... I said FREEBIES, not Frisbees!! Listen up now, people!! <grin> If you're like me, I'll take just about anything that is free - even pens, post-it notes, and such that they give out at conferences and seminars. ("Yes sir, feel free to take a Tootsie-Roll and a pen with a cow on it that says 'Moo' every time you tip it upside-down." Yeah, just what I needed...)
Now having Parkinson's is no walk-in-the-park, and I'd give up every free item I ever got in my life for a cure; but since that is wishful thinking for now (but hopefully a reality soon!) I did some research and found a few things that we parkie's can get for free!
So put your 'freebie' cap on, and let's see what's out there!
Free Patient Safety Kit from Parkinson's Foundation
I myself have one of these kits from the Parkinson's Foundation. This kit is really for us parkie's who get to visit the hospital and stay awhile (ugh); it has tools and information to share with hospital staff during a planned or emergency hospital visit. It has things in it like: A medical ID bracelet; Medical Alert Card; Medication Form; Parkinson's Disease Fact Sheet; and a few other items all in a nice carrying case. But I have also found this to be really good to take on vacation with me - to store my meds in, maybe an 'extra' MedicAlert bracelet - basically anything related to me and PD. It keeps it all in one place, and looks pretty good too! And you can't beat the $0 cost!
Patient Safety Kit from the Parkinson's Foundation
You can (at least in Michigan) get your very own handicap placard to hang from your mirror. This will allow you to use any handicap parking space. This comes in very handy if your meds are wearing off and you might have difficulty walking long distances to a building or store. The only thing that one has to do to qualify for this is to have your physician or neurologist fill out the necessary form (which they usually have in their office) stating that you have Parkinson's; then take that letter down to your local DMV and pick up your free placard! I know that as soon as the folks at the counter saw "Parkinson's" on the form I was issued a placard without any waiting!
Now I have to say, though: Please DON'T abuse this free privilege! I use mine only when I have to - as I mentioned in one of my previous blogs, if I am feeling good I like to walk! But it does come in handy when you do need it.
Michigan Handicap Placard Info
Free National Park Pass
Now here's something even I didn't know about until I Googled around a bit! Did you know that it is possible for you to get a free lifetime National Park Pass?? Yep... all you have to do is show that you have a medical permanent disability - and I would think Parkinson's would most definitely qualify - and you can be issued your free lifetime pass! This pass provides admittance to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by five Federal agencies. You can either order it online (I believe a shipping fee is charged) or pick it up in person for free right at a federal recreation site.
Free National Park Pass
Do you need some literature about Parkinson's? Either for yourself or for someone else? Did you know that a number of the Parkinson's organization offer many of these resources downloadable online; or offer free paper versions mailed directly to you? The Parkinson's Foundation offers many books and pamphlets on it's site (both e-book and mail order); also The Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF) provides a number of free, downloadable books - a good place to start is their Parkinson's 360 guide (here). And the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) has a number of free publications you can download or order (here). So get out there, and get educated!
And finally, you can always register and attend - usually for free - most Parkinson's Seminars and especially Webinars. The MJFF has a monthly 'Third Thursday' webinar featuring different topics, along with on-demand webinars (here); the Parkinson's Foundation also features a variety of 'Expert Briefings' on-demand (here). And I am sure there are other webinars out there at other sites that help us keep up-to-date on the latest research about Parkinson's. There are also various seminars that are free to attend - mostly likely in or near your area. Just look around at some of the major Parkinson's organization web sites to find some of these seminars - remember, Google is your friend!
So there you have it, some 'freebies' for us parkies! And I am sure I've probably missed a lot more, so if you know of any other freebies, let us all know in the comments below! Thanks for reading!!