25 Oct Parkinson’s Support Group
If you have a loved one with Parkinson’s Disease, you’ll be happy to know that Park Springs has its own Parkinson’s Support Group. It is a close-knit community of Members and spouses who have joined forces to support one another as they learn to manage this difficult disease. Led by Vivica McClain, our Dept. of Health Services Continuing Care Navigator, the Parkinson’s Support Group meets regularly on the third Wednesday of every month.
“I try to tailor the focus of our meetings to what the group wants,” Vivica says. “We always have an educational piece but this is also a safe space for everyone to discuss what they are going through and get reassurance that they are not alone.”
In one recent meeting, the Center for Movement Disorder visited the group to demonstrate what the benefits of boxing are for those who suffer from movement disorders. Members donned their boxing gloves and learned what a fun, therapeutic exercise this sport can be.
For last month’s Parkinson’s Support Group meeting, the group traveled to Peachtree Hills Place community in Buckhead for an extremely informative Parkinson’s Symposium. “We gathered so much new information and great resources,” Vivica says. “For example, we learned how important oral care is for those with Parkinson’s and how often it is neglected which can lead to other serious issues.”
Support For Caregivers:
With a mental health background, Vivica also focuses on addressing depression and developing coping skills for caregivers. Mental health is especially important for those with Parkinson’s as they are often afraid or ashamed to talk about what they are going through. “One side effect of many drugs used to treat Parkinson’s is hallucinations,” Vivica says. “Many of our Members had experienced this but had been too afraid to discuss it, even with their doctor. As they shared, it really helped them to see that they weren’t the only one and that these challenges are quite common.”
The Parkinson’s Support Group also maintains a close relationship with Dr. Joash Lazarus, our on-site neurologist and movement disorder specialist. “Members of our group have said what a big plus it is to have Dr. Lazarus on staff,” says Vivica. “Normally, it can take up to four months to get an appointment with a specialist like Dr. Lazarus. Our Members are really excited that they have his consistent, quality care right here on campus when they need it.”
If you or a loved one would like to learn more about the Park Spring’s Parkinson’s Support Group, please contact Vivica McClain at VMcClain@parksprings.com.