January 24, 2019 2:17 pm

When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast recap — Parkinson’s doesn’t have to be a career killer

By law, you have no obligation to share your diagnosis until it impacts your ability to do your job, says an employment lawyer.

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In this episode for When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast, Niki Reitmayer and I talk to my colleagues and bosses about how they’re adjusting to my Parkinson’s diagnosis, get advice from my neurologist Dr. Jonathon Squires, neuropsychologist Dr. Robert Duff, and employment lawyer Lior Samfiru. I also chat with Jim Redmond about being a teacher with PD and Jonny Acheson about adjustments he’s had to make as an emergency room doctor who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

READ MORE: When Life Gives You Parkinson’s podcast recap — Hope, fear, frustration and Levodopa

Having and managing Parkinson’s disease can feel like a full-time job. The reality, according to Parkinson Canada, is that 25-30 per cent of us with PD, are still in the workforce, still putting in 40+ hour work weeks and still hoping to be an asset to the companies we work for.

I’m guessing, I’m like most people with Parkinson’s who work. I want to be good at my job and not simply good at my job for someone with a degenerative brain disorder. I also fear the day where I show up wanting to work, but can no longer physically or mentally meet the expectations of myself or my employer.

I understand it’s a fear that may never be realized.

Larry Gifford at work.

Courtesy of Larry Gifford

The progression of Parkinson’s is different for everyone. That alone adds extra importance to employees with Parkinson’s in establishing ongoing communication with their employer.

By law, according to employment lawyer Lior Samfiru, a partner of partner Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, you have no obligation to share your diagnosis until it impacts your ability to do your job.

Additionally, your employer cannot retaliate or fire you for having PD and they must make accommodations to help you. Accommodations could include adjusting your schedule, scope of responsibilities, or providing equipment or technology in order for you to be successful in a role.

READ MORE: Working while being treated for a major illness

Depending on your job and symptoms, you may be able to continue working for many years without much help or you may need completely new responsibilities due to concerns regarding safety of you, others, or your ability to function in a particular role effectively.

My wife and I talk about what the future may hold for us, how we may need to find new sources of income, and adjust our roles at home. We’re not at the stage, but realize for many, it becomes a reality all too quickly. It’s scary, daunting and not something we look forward to.

If you have a comment or question about the podcast, you can email us: parkinsonspod@curiouscast.ca

Follow me, Larry Gifford 

Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

Instagram: @parkinsonspod

Follow co-host and producer Niki Reitmeyer

Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

Thank you to Kathryn Stewart, Dustin Collins, Dr. Jonathon Squires, Jim Redmond, Jonny Acheson, and Troy Reeb.

Also, thank you to @SickboyPodcast – check them out here: http://sickboypodcast.com/

Follow them on Twitter

Brian Stever                     @SteverBrian

Taylor MacGillvary           @Taymacgillivary

Jeremie Saunders           @JeremieSaunders

Dr. Robert Duff from The Hardcore Self Help Podcast

Website: https://www.duffthepsych.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/duffthepsych

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DuffThePsych

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/duffthepsych/

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/duffthepsych

Lior Samfiru B.A. (hons.), LL.B., partner Samfiru Tumarkin LLP

Website: www.stlawyers.ca

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stlawyers

And special thanks to my wife Rebecca Gifford.

For more info on our partner, Parkinson Canada, head to http://www.parkinson.ca/

Here is a link to an article about Young Onset Parkinson’s which also discusses employment

The toll-free hotline 1-800-565-3000

Or follow them on Twitter:

Parkinson Canada            @ParkinsonCanada

Parkinson Society BC      @ParkinsonsBC

When Life Gives You Parkinson’s was selected as one of Apple’s best podcasts of 2018

We LOVE that you are loving the “When Life Gives You Parkinson’s” podcast! If you haven’t subscribed yet — what are you waiting for? 

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  • Click the name of an episode from the list below to listen.

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