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Muhammad Ali: The World’s Greatest Fighter

By Lee Nyberg, 9:00 am on

Muhammad Ali was a three-time heavyweight champion boxer. While he was one of the greatest fighters of all time, he preached nonviolence outside the ring. He was brave and unrelenting throughout his life even after Parkinson’s became his toughest opponent. Those caring for seniors with degenerative diseases, namely Parkinson’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s caregivers in Omaha, NE, could learn something from this extraordinary man.

Not surprisingly, Ali did not simply accept defeat. While many celebrities with degenerative diseases go into hiding for fear of how the symptoms alter their public images, Ali pushed forward and let the world see he was as strong and vital as ever. He frequently attended public events and charity fundraisers to prove that being a champion was about facing challenges and living a full life despite them.

As it happens, the many tics and involuntary movements people noticed after Ali’s diagnosis were not symptoms of Parkinson’s, but of the treatment. For decades, the boxer was taking a synthetic form of dopamine that was proven to be an effective treatment for the disease. A common side effect was a gradual impact on the nervous system. In Ali’s case, that was uncontrollable shaking.

Despite these physical symptoms, Ali never shied away from outings and didn’t let it affect his spirit. According to family members, the disease almost took Ali’s life many times. Each instance only reinforced his desire to live and convince others to appreciate what they had.

In 1996, Ali returned to sports when attended the Summer Olympic Games. He stunned spectators as his trembling hand ignited the Olympic flame at the Atlanta Olympics. Over 3.5 billion global viewers watched the event. Thanks to his courageous efforts, Parkinson’s disease hit a zenith in the public consciousness and brought it to the forefront of discussion.

Like everything in life, Ali didn’t just accept his fate. He embraced it. He accepted Parkinson’s as if it were another heavyweight belt. He believed he was given the disease for a reason and that he would make the best of it. Considering the strides he made to raise PD awareness for those living with PD and their Omaha in-home caregivers, Ali certainly did just that.

Although Parkinson’s makes going about the day difficult, seniors do have somewhere to turn. Omaha Home Care Assistance is the leading provider of at-home care, which we tailor to meet your loved one’s individual needs. Our compassionate caregivers assist seniors with daily activities such as grooming, bathing, physical therapy, and more in the comfort of home. Let us help your loved one age in place. Call (402) 763-9140 today to speak with an experienced Care Manager and set up a free consultation.