If you’re reading this, you might be wondering, “Is Young Onset Parkinson’s Network (YOPN) for me?”
Historically, most of the resources and support available about Parkinson’s Disease have focused on the traditional-aged population - those diagnosed later in life, anywhere from their late 50s to 80s. Young Onset Parkinson’s Network (YOPN) was founded as a resource designed specifically to support the Young Onset population (people diagnosed with YOPD before the age of 50) as well as their family members and care partners.
A Parkinson’s diagnosis at a young age means an evolution of symptoms that friends and family members have to adjust to over time, which can be especially difficult to navigate. The roles that patients and their loved ones play in their relationships and each individual’s coping mechanisms are both significant factors in adapting to the ongoing, developing nature of the disease.
A mother with YOPD who is used to managing the day-to-day care of her children and household activities may struggle when her symptoms make these tasks more challenging and she needs to ask for help.
An adult son or daughter with YOPD may find it really hard to allow a parent to help for fear of losing their independence, while their parents may feel hurt about being shut out.
The spouse of a patient with YOPD might experience conflicting feelings about how the diagnosis has affected intimacy in the relationship, and a child whose parent has been diagnosed could be feeling confused and scared.
A friend of someone living with YOPD may not understand or know how to help when the patient has an “off” day.
The Young Onset Parkinson’s Network is built for each of the people in those examples and more. Taking a more holistic approach to the YOPD community, YOPN recognized the unmet need to provide resources, data, mental and emotional support, and comfort to anyone who has had to adjust and adapt to YOPD symptoms. But it goes beyond manaing symptoms. YOPN is about creating a community and resource for those living with YOPD and those who love and support them - helping them embrace their diagnosis and thrive beyond what they thought was possible.
So, whether you're reading this as someone diagnosed with YOPD, or you're a loved one, friend or family members of someone living with YOPD, let this be the answer to your question: Young Onset Parkinson's Network is designed for you.