Caregiver Article

November 21, 2013




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Managing Parkinson’s Disease Together: John and Bernadette’s Caregiving Journey
By Brandpoint

Managing Parkinson’s Disease Together: John and Bernadette’s Caregiving Journey
(BPT) – When Bernadette first met her husband, inspirational speaker and attorney John Baumann, she was drawn to his positive attitude and confidence instantly. It wasn’t long after they met that he told her he had Parkinson’s disease (PD), a progressive disorder of the brain and central nervous system that causes a variety of movement problems such as shaking, muscle stiffness and difficulty walking. Bernadette didn’t know much about PD, but that didn’t matter, because as they became closer and eventually married, she began to feverishly research PD and embraced her role as both his wife and his caregiver. As this November marks the 17th annual National Family Caregivers Month, it is a time to celebrate people like Bernadette who dedicate their lives to the well-being of others.

Caregivers play a significant role in helping their loved ones manage PD, and it isn’t always easy. However, Bernadette still believes it is important to find time for herself, and encourages John to participate in activities they both enjoy. Self-described “fitness enthusiasts” Bernadette and John both love exercising together and challenging themselves. A perfect example is when Bernadette once ran the San Francisco half marathon while John rode his bike beside her. When John suddenly got a flat tire, he told Bernadette she would have to run home, get the car and pick him up. “No way, let’s jog together! I will carry you if you ask me to,” she remembers saying. “That’s how we live our lives together. Whether I need help in motivating myself on a day when I’m down, or if he needs a little encouragement, we are in it together.”

Bernadette credits the active role she places in John’s care plan to their success as a couple. “I’ve been with John throughout his PD journey. As a caregiver, I am grateful that through our commitment to each other and with support from the PD community, he has been able to manage his PD.” John’s daily treatment regimen includes a strict vegetarian diet, exercises such as bikram yoga, taking his medications, such as AZILECT® (rasagiline tablets) and levodopa, and maintaining a positive attitude each and every day.

National Family Caregivers Month, along with the surrounding holidays, is a time for all of us to reflect on how thankful we are for our support systems. No one is more appreciative than John. “My life took an unexpected turn when I met and fell in love with Bernadette, but I consider this chapter in my life to be a miracle. I fell in love with a woman who accepted my invitation to experience the rest of our lives together and wanted to share my PD journey.”


I do not have the words to thank you enough for making the trip to Dallas to do two presentations for us at CC young. You truly are special and a rockstar and clearly touched many lives today. It is a victory! I was able to run all over campus and welcome guests and host you. It was a victory. Thanks to you for helping me think that way. We will catch you on the next round. Get some rest my friend. Safe travels. And know we love you from CC Young and Dallas!

Patty CC Young and Dallas

“After two years of not being able to hear speakers in person , I was thrilled to have John Bauman as a speaker at our “ Living Well With Parkinson’s’ Gala!. Not only was John engaging and inspiring to get to know off stage , on stage he truly drove home the theme of empowerment to our audience and left our growing community of attendees with several “ aha “ moments and desire to hear more. He spoke from personal experience as a Parkinson’s patient ,inspiring the audiences motivation to truly wish to make a difference and uniting us all in our humanity. Attendees after listening to John , felt inspired to make a difference in the world and do their part to create change for those living with Parkinson’s. My only regret was not being able to spend more time with John and I look forward to having him speak again to our audience.”

Naomi Wong WPP Program Manager

John’s message of hope, inspiration and laughter was ideal for anyone living with PD. He was extremely flexible and a delight to work with.

Leisha Phipps, MSW Program Director - Dallas Area Parkinson Society

We all felt inspired and enjoyed listening to your presentation. Even though we are not living with Parkinson’s, we felt boost of motivation to continue helping those who are living with this disease. I am motivated to make more personal phone calls to people living with PD and asking how they are doing. Sometimes that “extra” bit of kindness truly makes a difference to someone. I am also motivated to research program ideas and partner with other organizations that may have similar values.

I learned that life is unexpected and that you cannot control it. What matters is your attitude!

-Great way to end the day, brave man, thank you very much!

-Good, excellent, great, outstanding speaker, very moving!

-Inspirational who just “gets it”

-Positive thinker and very funny!

-Honest speaker but also humorous!

Parkinson’s Society of Southwest Ontario, Canada, Symposium Keynote Presentation

“whatever hand life deals you, whatever life changing adversity you have to endure, you still have some control over it.” “You don’t have to just to live well,” he advises,” but live an Amazing Life.” The formula he proposes: Faith in yourself, discipline, determination, desire, intensity, and inner strength.


Yes, you touched every person at our conference, who will in turn change and impact so many others. The feedback from our participants was overwhelmingly positive. You are the only speaker to ever receive a standing ovation. Thank you for taking time to share, motivate and inspire. We are blessed to know you.


I will be honest. During the first 10 minutes of your presentation, I started reading work related material on my laptop. For surely, I had watched your You-Tube and seen your videos and knew what to expect. Surely, as a therapist I had studied this disease, the pathological components, the psychological components, the treatment alternatives……..Surely, I understand it.

Not so much. You caught my attention and I was enthralled. You were able to couple the impairments you experience with the emotions felt. You walked us through your life with the disease through “your eyes”. A perspective that a therapist/nurse rarely has the chance to hear. We get so busy telling patients how to deal with x, y and z, but our eyes are blurred by the science of it all most of the time.

You did it through truth, Through your humor, humility and determination to tell your story. One that most deservedly needs to be shared.

I will advocate to have you share your story. I appreciate your determination, diligence and dedication.