Preparing for Parkinson’s: Embracing Technology to Stay Connected


There are countless obstacles and curveballs that can be thrown our way through life. No matter our age, there will be hurdles to overcome and decisions to make that alter the trajectory of our healthspan. The key to getting the most out of life is how we decide to handle these challenges.

Among the thousands of people that have shown the world how they are Growing Bolder, we’ve met several inspirational adults who are battling Parkinson’s disease and continuing to pursue their passions. This degenerative condition affects the nervous system and generally leads to the breakdown of the body and the brain. Take a look at some of the people who shared what it’s like to battle PD.

John Gabriel

Known for having one of the sharpest minds in the history of professional basketball, John Gabriel was just inducted into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame in March of 2022. He’s a former landscaper who once talked his way into a job with the Philadelphia 76ers, who would go on to help launch the Magic as an expansion team before becoming the team’s General Manager. Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2007, he continues to lean on the power of positivity.

“All in all, there’s no time to be down about things,” Gabriel said. “I’ve got a lot to look forward in my life, I’ve got a beautiful family that I love, and I just look forward to the next day in each and every day. I have to be a little bit more careful what I do but I still run, play football with my son, hang out with the girls. Life’s pretty much the same as it was, as much as I can make it that way.”

Alan Alda

The former star of “M*A*S*H” revealed his Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2018, yet to this day continues to give inspirational talks, podcast interviews and raise awareness for the disease.

“You know how I look at it? It’s like a puzzle to be solved,” Alda said. “What do I have to adapt to, to carry on a normal life? And I enjoy solving puzzles.”

Andy Leighton

This 74-year-old pickleball star hasn’t let his diagnosis slow him down. Speaking on Growing Bolder’s Fountain of Youth Podcast, Leighton explained how competing in the National Senior Games has helped him cope with the disease.

“I was told that the best thing I could do for Parkinson’s is to slow the progression of the disease and to do that by exercising,” Leighton explained. “And I was told that exercising not only is like medicine, exercise is medicine. So the question is, do you want to go out and exercise or do you want to go to the drugstore and pick up a prescription? And I’d much rather exercise so I tried to pick up my activity level as much as I could.”

Using Technology to Prepare for a Future with Parkinson’s

While keeping a sense of purpose can be crucial to coping with a diagnosis, it’s also important to seek out technological advances that can assist in everyday life with disease. One tech company, GrandPad, has created a tablet specifically designed for seniors. Its easy-to-use design benefits all older adults, including those who may develop Parkinson’s. They explained the many ways their product can help prepare for a future with this disease in a recent Q&A on their weekly community homepage called “Live Grand!”

Dear Live Grand: I’m a 68-year-old man who uses computers and smartphones, but I have advancing Parkinson’s disease so my abilities will change. So far, my symptoms are mild, however, they will worsen with time. Even dementia is a possibility, so I’m considering both my present cognition and future changes. I want to maintain connections with friends and extended family, and I’ve read that GrandPad offers a simple way to conduct video calls. How does this work? Will I still get junk calls and spam? My family says that so far, my judgment seems good, but we’re aware that could change. What additional benefits would I have with this tablet? Thank you. – DP

Dear DP:   We commend the initiative on your forward-thinking which will help you continue to enjoy life even with the challenges presented by Parkinson’s disease. We have no doubt that your family is grateful for your realistic approach.

You mentioned that your primary concern is maintaining connections with friends and family. With a GrandPad, you’d find that doing so would remain safe and simple even as the disease progresses. Your family admin would add the phone numbers and images of the people you’d like included in your Contacts. Then, if one of these people called you, you’d see their image, touch Answer, and your video call would connect. If you wanted to place a call, you’d simply tap the Call icon and then tap the Call button under their image.

GrandPads have built-in 4G enabled cellular service, so they don’t require an Internet connection or password. Since only the people added to your contacts can get through, you’d be protected from spam calls and emails. Speaking of emails, if you wanted to convey information at a time when a call was inconvenient, you’d have the alternative option of sending a voice email.

With GrandPad’s safe Internet you could explore the internet worry-free. Options like YouTube, Wikipedia, and NPR are available with one click. Your family admin could also add additional websites that you currently use including your online newspaper.

You could easily view photos and videos that the family admin uploads to your tablet. The Radio app could bring you varied entertainment, and the Music app offers different genres and decades to choose from so you could build your personalized Music Collection.

If you enjoy playing cards, word games, and memory challenges you’d find plenty to challenge you within the Games app. Great for brain maintenance!

Setup is easy and should you need assistance, you’d just tap the Help button, and your own representative would answer your questions.

You can see why we think that you’d be pleased by GrandPad’s flexibility, DP.  

Best wishes that you can keep the worst of the Parkinson’s symptoms at bay for a long time.

This article was created in partnership with our friends at GrandPad

Related Stories 12 of 58

Related Stories 12 of 58

Women Of Influence


Today, to be influential, you only need a smartphone, an internet connection, and a message that resonates to make a living for yourself and make a difference in the lives of others. Here’s to the new, older Women of Influence.

Read Full Story

Personal Growth Apps & Websites


For some this means learning a new skill. For others, it might be losing a few pounds, making a new friend, or learning to budget better. No matter the path you’re walking on your own Growing Bolder journey, we can all take advantage of the resources available to make self-improvement easier. Here are a few of our favorite personal growth apps and websites.

Read Full Story

Top 5 Creative Design Apps for Adults


Thanks to our ever-evolving digital world, it’s now easier than ever before to get online and get creative. While tangible creative outlets like painting, playing an instrument, crafting and cooking are wonderful ways to let your imagination run wild, don’t sleep on the many apps that are easy to use and can spice up your photos, drawing and designs online.

Read Full Story