Why a Support Group?
A support group can assist many people in understanding and dealing with the effects of a disease like Parkinson’s. Support groups can provide information about the disease, treatment options, and techniques to help both those with Parkinson’s and caregivers in their daily routine. This assistance can be provided by speakers with expertise on various aspects of the disease and by members having an opportunity to discuss experiences, feelings, and solutions to common problems. Many patients have gained encouragement from meeting with others who have Parkinson’s disease. Caregivers find it helpful to talk to others who are in a similar situation. The information gained through being a part of a support group can also help both the person with PD and the caregiver in discussing the disease with their doctor. Being informed helps in better understanding what treatment options are available to the delay the effects of Parkinson’s.
Our Support Group
The “Young at Heart” Parkinson’s Disease Support Group of Roanoke, Virginia, is made up of PD patients of all ages and at varying stages of the disease. Members are patients, spouses, caregivers and friends. We typically have 30 to 50 people attending our monthly meetings. The meetings are free and everyone is welcome.
At most of our meetings we have speakers with an expertise on various aspects of Parkinson’s disease including treatment options and various issues that affect both the patient and the caregiver. A couple of times each year we divide into people with Parkinson’s and caregiver groups so that each group can share concerns and talk about solutions that are unique to them. Social exchange is encouraged through an annual picnic, a holiday party, and a refreshment period at the end of each meeting
What We Are About
The focus of our group is offering information about Parkinson’s Disease, treatment options, and related issues. The group provides an easy way to connect with others who are experiencing what you are going through. You will value the interesting interchange between fellow members, and you will be able to ask questions about how others deal with PD (and probably offer tips from your own experiences). Connecting with others is an effective way to learn to cope with the day-to-day realities of this disease. Just knowing that you are not alone and being able to talk with others who are “walking the walk” is therapeutic in itself.
Caregivers of our group have their own support group which meets separately once a month and deals with all aspects of caregiving. Led by a professional facilitator, these meetings have been very helpful in dealing with the unique issues of caregiving for Parkinson’s patients.
By attending the support group meetings you will learn as visiting speakers discuss a variety of topics of interest to both patients and caregivers. Some of the recent topics have included:
- Cognitive and emotional issues associated with Parkinson’s
- Non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
- Future treatment possibilities for PD
- Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) therapy
- Legal and long term care considerations
- The benefits of exercise for those with Parkinson’s
- The role of an occupational therapist in PD
- Exercise options to delay the disease including LVST BIG and Tai Chi
- Overview of Parkinson’s disease
- Speech therapy presentation including LSVT LOUD and exercises to improve swallowing and drooling problems
- Status of neuroprotective therapies for PD
- Parkinson’s medications
- Depression and anxiety associated with PD
- Living well with PD including nutrition and other wellness considerations
Our aim is to provide assistance to as many people as possible in the greater Roanoke area who are affected by Parkinson’s disease and to encourage the development of more resources to help both patients and caregivers. We look forward to having a chance to share information and concerns with you. Please join us for a meeting and see what we are about.