Hebrew HealthCare Supports American Parkinson Disease
Association: Staff Member Elected President of CT Chapter Board of Directors
April 4, 2016, West Hartford, CT – In celebration of American Parkinson Disease Awareness Month, Hebrew HealthCare is proud to support the CT Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association. The APDA is the only national organization with a dual mission, “to ease the burden and find a cure.” Pamela Atwood, HHC’s Director of Dementia Care Services was recently elected President of the CT Chapter’s Board of Directors, and volunteers with the chapter as a support group facilitator.
“My mother in law was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD),” said Atwood, “and like most patients, worries that she is going to end up in a wheel chair. But we know so much more now, and have really effective interventions and medications.” The APDA has been involved in almost every major research breakthrough, funding research and supporting clinical trials. Support groups, educational seminars, hotline support, and information and referrals are supported by the annual Optimism Walks and other fundraisers.
Atwood also knows firsthand of the benefits of support groups. She co-facilitates a group with West Hartford resident TJ Goldberg, RN; the group is for individuals with PD and their care partners.
“My husband, Michael, had deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery over 8 years ago. When they turned it on, it seemed miraculous: he went into the office in a wheel chair and went home walking,” said Goldberg. While DBS does not cure PD or slow the progression, it allows patients to maintain function much longer, and exercise. Exercise is the only intervention proven to slow the progression of PD.
“Support groups are key,” said Atwood, “because living with PD presents many physical, emotional and relationship changes. Adaptation is essential; people learn about how to live with PD in support groups.” Atwood also facilitates a monthly group for people with young-onset PD; the average age of the members is 45.
The APDA recently rolled out their red-button campaign for PD Awareness Month. The red button is symbolic of the functional changes. Proper diagnosis, medication, exercise, education and support are the answers for 1 million Americans who have PD. More information about the association and awareness month events can be found at www.apdaparkinson.org.
Later this year, the CT Chapter will host three Optimism Walks, including October 29 in Elizabeth Park, West Hartford, and a regional educational symposium November 6 & 7 in Windsor. Other events are posted on the website and announced on Facebook at “CTAPDA.”