Empowering people with Parkinson's to live life to the fullest

April 2023

Some people write poems or songs for their loved ones. I built a phone app for my partner after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, hoping to help him and myself, as his carer, to slow down the progression of his symptoms. After using the tool for several weeks, I am releasing it now to other people with Parkinson’s and their families, hoping it will help them as much as it has helped us to stay in control of the disease and enjoy life to the fullest.

Many people with Parkinson's disease and their families can relate to the experience of receiving a devastating diagnosis from a doctor. We were told that my husband had five years before he would need assistance with mobility. He was prescribed various medications and told to come back the following year for higher doses.

The experience was brutal, and it made us angry. We decided to learn more and see if there was anything we could do to slow down the progression of his symptoms. Over the next few years, we delved into scientific research, consulted with neuroscientists, neurologists, nutritionists, and physiotherapists, and most importantly, spoke with other people who have Parkinson's disease. We discovered a wealth of knowledge beyond simply taking medication. While gaining knowledge, we also gained optimism that there is a way to slow down the progression of symptoms.

Every person with Parkinson's is unique and requires a tailored approach, but there are common components that are worth exploring for everyone, such as supplements, physical and brain exercises, diet changes, journaling symptoms to adjust therapies, and social connections. Consistency and dedication are necessary to undertake these tasks and see results in slowing down symptom progression. That's where the idea for PDbuddy came from - my husband needed a tool to help him stay on top of his routines, learn, keep track of his medication, favourite exercises, notes and observations, and connect with other people with Parkinson's disease.

Luckily, I have been working in the technology sector for over 20 years, specialising in turning scientific research into new technology tools. The task was right up my alley!

However, developing the app was not easy. I had no prior experience in app development, so I had to learn everything from scratch. I spent countless hours researching, attending workshops, and seeking advice from experts in the field. Despite the challenges, I remained committed to my goal of creating an app that would help my husband and make a difference in the lives of people with Parkinson's disease.

Finally, after months of hard work, the app was ready for testing. I enlisted the help of a few people with Parkinson's disease to try out the app and provide feedback. Their input was invaluable, and I used it to make necessary changes and improvements to the app.

The app has now been launched, and the response has been overwhelming. People with Parkinson's disease and their caregivers have been using the app to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Knowing that I have made a positive impact on the lives of people with Parkinson's disease has been incredibly rewarding.

Creating an app for people with Parkinson's disease has been a personal journey that has been both challenging and fulfilling. It has allowed me to combine my passion for technology with my desire to help my loved one and others. I hope the app will continue to make a difference in the lives of people with Parkinson's disease and their caregivers.