The recent death of Muhammad Ali was not only a great loss to the sports community but to the medical community as well. While Ali was renowned as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers in history, he was also a great champion for those with Parkinson’s disease and other degenerative illnesses. Here is what his legacy means to Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s in-home caregivers in Oklahoma.
Muhammad Ali, who was originally called Cassius Clay by his parents, was born in Louisville, KY, on January 17, 1942. He showed an early talent for boxing and won a gold medal in the 1960 Sumer Olympics at the age of 18. By 1964, he had become the heavyweight champion of the world. He would receive that honor two more times in the 1970s before retiring from boxing in 1981.
Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984 at the remarkably young age of 42. Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease that affects the nervous system, and consequently, motor function. Parkinson’s symptoms typically include tremors, slurred speech, and slowed movement. These symptoms took their toll on Ali, who was famous for his quick feet and agile movements in the boxing ring.
While at first he was hesitant to step into the public spotlight with his disease, Ali became a spokesman for those battling Parkinson’s. He was encouraged to lend his name to the fight by his doctor and was instrumental in the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center in Phoenix, AZ. He raised over one million dollars for the center and became the public face of the disease. However, his most important contribution was inspiration for others fighting Parkinson’s. In a recent tribute, many people cited Ali’s conviction, determination, and steadfast commitment to fighting the disease as a shining example to follow. They believed that if a great champion like Ali could fight PD with grace and bravery, then they could as well.
While there is no known cure for Parkinson’s, there are a now a number of treatment options available to slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life. Thanks to Muhammad Ali’s dedication to spreading awareness and raising money for Parkinson’s research, seniors with PD and their Oklahoma respite caregivers have the support and motivation they need to move forward.
In addition to teaching more about Parkinson’s disease, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center can refer families to support groups and care programs like Home Care Assistance of Oklahoma. As a leading home care agency, we provide comprehensive live-in and hourly services designed to help seniors with PD overcome daily challenges in the comfort of home. Our trusted caregivers help with everything from physical therapy and mobility assistance to incontinence and personal care assistance. Call 405-285-4191 today to learn more and schedule a free consultation with an experienced Care Manager.