APM's best jobs for people with Parkinson's

Living with Parkinson's and want to find work?

In this guide you will find information about jobs for people with Parkinson's, including how to:

  • Stay in your current role
  • Transition to a new role
  • Find a new job or change careers
  • Where to access support if you need it

Can you work if you have Parkinson's disease?

Everyone who lives with Parkinson's disease will have a different experience.

Many people continue to work after their Parkinson's diagnosis. For some, their symptoms do not greatly affect their working life.

For others, Parkinson's symptoms such as tremors, stiffness, slow movement, fatigue and trouble concentrating can make it challenging to continue working at the same capacity.

With the right support and access to workplace modifications, many of the challenges can be overcome. Many people living with Parkinson's have a successful and fulfilling work life.

After receiving a Parkinson's diagnosis, a person may decide to:

  • Stay in their current job with appropriate workplace adjustments
  • Transfer their skills to a new role, sometimes in the same workplace
  • Find a new job or start a new career
  • Work as a volunteer
  • Go into early retirement

In this article, we look at ways to stay in work and find new jobs for people with Parkinson's. For more general information about working with Parkinson's disease, check out APM's guide to Parkinson's and employment.

Staying in your current role

If you are living with Parkinson's disease and want to continue working in the same job, support is available to help you continue working with confidence.

Workplace modifications are changes in your job role, workstation or workplace that can help you manage your symptoms and do your job well.

Your employer may be eligible for funding from the government to access workplace modifications at no cost to them or you.

Parkinson's is a long-term disorder and symptoms may develop or change overtime. It's important that workplace modifications are frequently reviewed to make sure you are getting the support you need.

Examples and solutions

Here are some examples of how workplace modifications could help someone with Parkinson's continue to work in their job:

  • An administration assistant finds it difficult to perform physically intense tasks such as lifting heavy boxes or operating technology that requires fine motor skills. Her employer agrees to restructure her job duties and rearrange the workstation so that she doesn't have to lift heavy items. The employer also sources a hands free phone and computer adaptations so that the administration assistant can operate the equipment with ease.
  • A business consultant finds it difficult to travel to and from work everyday because of mobility issues. Her employer agrees to let her work from home for part of the work week. When she does go into the office, a priority car park is provided to reduce the distance she needs to walk into the office. Instead of attending meetings in person, she joins in via video call from her work station.

Transferring your skills to a new role

If you cannot continue in your current role, you may be able to transfer your skills and knowledge to another role, sometimes within the same company.

Here are some example scenarios of how a person could transfer their existing skills to a new role:

  • A man who works as a tradesperson in a large company is finding it difficult to keep up with the physical demands of the job. His employer supports him to complete a training and assessment course at TAFE so that he can transition into a training role for new employees.
  • A beautician is finding it difficult to perform fine motor tasks and cope with the fast paced environment of the beauty salon. Her employer agrees to transition her into a part time managerial role where she can focus on scheduling and customer service tasks.
  • A salesperson can no longer keep up with the fast paced environment and physical demands of the job. He decides he would like to work from home to manage his symptoms better. His employer transitions him into a role writing for the company's blog and producing content that they can publish online.

Looking for new jobs for people with Parkinson's

Some people see their Parkinson's diagnosis as an opportunity for a fresh start and decide to look for a new job or start a new career.

When it comes to employment, everyone's goals and needs are different. Talking with an employment consultant from APM can help you discover job opportunities and career pathways that are a good fit for you.

When looking for a new job think about:

  • Your interests, skills and experience - Can you use your skills and previous experience in a new role? Will you need to undergo further training and education?
  • Your limitations and challenges - Will your symptoms affect your ability to do the job? Think about adjustments and assistive technologies that might help you overcome the challenges.
  • Transport issues - How will you travel to and from the workplace? Will you need to live close to the place you work or is there the possibility of working from home?
  • Hours and work schedule - How many hours do you want to work? If maintaining a full time schedule is not possible, you may be able to find part time or flexible work opportunities. Will you need time off for medical appointments, therapy or support groups? You may prefer a job that has a flexible schedule.
  • Workplace environment - What type of workplace do you work best in? Consider the accessibility, stress levels, flexibility and physical demands of the workplace and any adjustment that may help you.

Need help finding a job or managing in the workplace? APM is here for you.

At APM, we've seen first-hand the benefits that having a job can bring to someone's life. It can boost your self esteem, give you a sense of purpose and help you connect with others in a meaningful way.

Whether you want to find a new job or need support to stay in your current role, APM can help.

If you are living with Parkinson's, you could be eligible for Disability Employment Services, a government funded program which helps people living with disability or a health condition find and stay in employment.

Register for Disability Employment Services with APM today and let's get started.

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