“No one fights alone”

Parkinson’s Awareness groupOnce a month a group of individuals meet in the ASPIRE Wellness Center on Passavant Community Campus to listen and talk about something they all share in common – Parkinson’s disease.

April is Parkinson’s Awareness month, but this strong group is reminded every day of the challenges they often face.

Meeting on the third Friday of each month, those who live with the disease and those who care for the individuals who struggle with it, discuss the challenges of dealing with and adjusting to Parkinson’s.

“Living here helps,” explains Passavant resident, Janet Broskin about her husband, Jack Broskin, who has Parkinson’s. “If only others knew how living here has helped us all. There are so many resources and this community is wonderful.”

The group is led by Passavant exercise specialist, Chad Ifft, Alex Molinari, Social Service Manager and a host guest speaker (on this day it was Passavant physical therapist, Nicole Corsi).

Overcoming and connecting with others who can relate to their experience is important. Conversations can focus on many topics, including the best ways to reduce stress and overcoming task that used to be easy for them.

“No one fights alone” Corsi tells the group.

Corsi is talking about methods to “thaw freezing in Parkinson’s”; a motor block or brief inability to start movement or continue rhythmic movement.  “Don’t fight the freeze” she explains. “Do something to get your mind off the struggle you may be dealing with,” and suggest to not focus on what is causing the freeze, and provides several tips and tricks to get yourself moving again.Passavant physical therapist, Nicole Corsi

The class isn’t just for those who have Parkinson’s, but also family members and/or care givers of those who have the disease.

“The care giver standpoint is tough, you see them struggle, but know what they were in their prime,” says, Janet Broskin about her husband. “You can feel like you are nagging, but really you are doing your best to be supportive and helpful.”

Everyone finds that the support group helps them cope with the day-to-day realities of Parkinson’s disease. The opportunity to swap stories and share resources can be truly therapeutic.

“Don’t let Parkinson’s define you,” Corsi tells everyone. “You define Parkinson’s by what you do and how you live.”