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The Legendary Muhammad Ali’s Difficult Battle with Parkinson’s

By Kevin McClarren, 9:00 am on

Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s did not cause Muhammad Ali to lose sight of his purpose. Instead he became an important figurehead in the battle against the disease. His struggle ended on June 3rd, 2016, but his legacy lives on. Warren, NJ, senior care professionals discuss some of the many accomplishments he made during his long fight with Parkinson’s.

Ali Stayed Focused on Treatment

Parkinson’s disease progresses slowly for some people, but others experience rapid changes in their cognitive abilities. Due to the treatment Ali received, his symptoms were reduced for decades after his diagnosis. Taking the synthetic form of dopamine helped Ali become more mobile. When he was passed the torch at the 1996 Olympics, it was the treatment that made his hands tremble, not the tremors. 

He Found New Ways to Communicate

Ali’s speech may have been slurred due to Parkinson’s, but he was still able to connect with the people he came into contact with. Ali’s wife Lonnie stated he would use his eyes to speak to other people. If you have an elderly loved one living with Parkinson’s, discovering new ways to communicate can help reduce stress and enhance his or her quality of life.

His Public Appearances Inspired Others with Parkinson’s

A Parkinson’s diagnosis did not cause Ali to stay out of the public eye. He was eventually unable to speak, and at times he could not stand, but Ali still made appearances at benefits and events to help raise awareness for Parkinson’s disease. Most notable was his 1996 Summer Olympics appearance, but Ali was also an Olympic flag bearer at the 2012 London games. These appearances inspired other people around the world who were also living with Parkinson’s. When Michael Holman, a former editor of The Financial Times, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, it was after he learned about Ali’s diagnosis that he believed he could fight against the illness as well. 

He Opened a Center Devoted to Parkinson’s Research

Ali wanted to help others find the cure for Parkinson’s. He may be gone, but he leaves behind a legacy far beyond his boxing career. Along with his wife Lonnie, he opened the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix, which has raised millions of dollars for Parkinson’s research. The center also has a team of neurologists and specialists who diagnose and treat the disease. Though Parkinson’s research is the primary reason behind the center, it also specializes in ataxia, essential tremor, Huntington’s disease, and many other conditions.

Managing Parkinson’s disease can be challenging for any senior. To help your elderly loved one get the help he or she needs, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and 24-hour caregivers can assist with a wide array of daily tasks, including exercise, medication reminders, and transportation. In addition to Parkinson’s home care Warren seniors can rely on, we also offer comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia and stroke care. For more information on our elder care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 908.450.9400 today.