Capital Area Parkinson's Society

Thriving at Work with Parkinson’s Disease: Strategies for Success

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) undoubtedly brings about significant life changes for anyone. For many individuals, maintaining a fulfilling and successful career remains a priority regardless of the prognosis. 

Even if the symptoms are mild, navigating the workplace with Parkinson’s comes with its challenges. However, with the right strategies individuals can not only manage their symptoms but also thrive in their professional lives. Keep reading to find practical tips and insights on how to excel at work after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

6 Ways to Make Working Easier After Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement and motor skills, but there are ways to minimize how much it impacts your work. While these symptoms may present challenges, it’s crucial to understand that individuals with Parkinson’s can continue to contribute and have meaningful professional lives.

Open Communication

The foundation for success in the workplace begins with open and honest communication. Once diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it is essential to communicate with supervisors, human resources, and colleagues about the condition. Sharing information about the diagnosis can ensure everyone is on the same page while creating a supportive environment and understanding among coworkers.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Many employers recognize the importance of accommodating employees with health conditions. After your diagnosis, work with your employer to explore flexible work arrangements, such as adjusting your work hours, working remotely, or modifying tasks to better suit your abilities. A flexible work environment can enhance productivity and help you manage symptoms more effectively.

Prioritize Self-Care

Managing Parkinson’s at work requires a strong focus on self-care. Adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise outside of the office are essential components of well-being when you’re at work. Incorporating breaks into the workday to stretch and move can also help you alleviate stiffness and maintain energy levels.

Get a Handle on Symptoms

Parkinson’s Disease commonly causes tremors, stiffness, and balance issues. The symptoms and their severity can vary from person to person, and their impact on work life differs depending on your occupation. 

Consider using these strategies to cope with specific symptoms while in the workplace:

Tremors and Fine Motor Skills

  • Invest in ergonomic tools and equipment to make tasks easier.
  • Break down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable steps.
  • Utilize voice-activated technology for typing and note-taking.

Balance Issues

  • Ensure a clutter-free workspace to minimize the risk of tripping.
  • Request a comfortable chair and supportive workspace to enhance stability.


  • Prioritize tasks and allocate energy for essential responsibilities.
  • Schedule breaks throughout the day to recharge.
  • Listen to your body to avoid strenuous activities.

Cognitive Challenges

  • Use organizational tools like calendars and reminders to stay on track.
  • Communicate proactively with colleagues about potential challenges and solutions.

Foster a Supportive Work Environment

Creating a supportive work environment is key to thriving with Parkinson’s in the workplace. It’s a health condition that will undoubtedly impact the people you work with directly. Therefore, it’s important for you to take the initiative to promote teamwork and a collective mindset. 

Education and Awareness

  • Provide colleagues and supervisors with information about Parkinson’s Disease.
  • Conduct training sessions on how to best support coworkers with Parkinson’s.
  • Connect your supervisors to Capital Area Parkinson’s Society (CAPS) for more resources.

Team Collaboration

  • Foster a collaborative work culture where team members support one another.
  • Encourage open communication and empathy among colleagues.

ADA Accommodations

  • Familiarize yourself with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and explore available accommodations that can be made.
  • Work with the Human Resources department to implement reasonable adjustments tailored to your needs.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Most workplaces will be very accommodating and take action to make working easier for you. However, navigating Parkinson’s in the workplace may still require professional guidance. 

Occupational Therapy

  • Consult with an occupational therapist to optimize your workspace and develop strategies for daily tasks.

Legal Support

  • If workplace discrimination or issues arise, seek legal advice to understand your rights and protections under the law.

Thriving at work with Parkinson’s Disease is possible with a combination of open communication, self-care, and a supportive work environment. By adopting proactive strategies, individuals with Parkinson’s can continue to contribute meaningfully to their professional lives, pursuing fulfilling careers while managing the unique challenges posed by this neurodegenerative condition.

About Capital Areas Parkinson’s Society (CAPS)

Capital Area Parkinson’s Society (“CAPS”) is dedicated to supporting the needs of people in Central Texas who are living with Parkinson’s disease and those who care for them through education, information, support, and services.

Founded in 1984, CAPS is a volunteer-led 501(c)3 non-profit serving the Central Texas community. Membership in CAPS is open to anyone with an interest in Parkinson’s Disease and offered at no cost. If you would like to be a member, get involved or support CAPS, please register at https://capitalareaParkinson’ or call 512-371-3373 or via email at info@capitalareaParkinson’

Written by: Jennifer Prescott RN, MSN, CDP
Vice President Capital Area Parkinson’s Society
Founder/COO Blue Water Homecare and Hospice 

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