For those with Parkinson's disease and their caregivers, knowing they're not alone in the fight is half that battle.
Thanks to a unique partnership between Northern Westchester Hospital's Rehabilitation Services and Lex Ave Gym in Mount Kisco this past month, those in the Parkinson’s disease community were armed with education regarding exercise, support, research and advocacy through a fun, interactive resource program.
"Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder in which no two people have the same symptoms or progression of the disease," said Veronica Cea, a speech language pathologist with NWH's Outpatient Rehabilitation Services at Chappaqua Crossing. "Many patients may notice a change in their voice, a tremor or stiffness in their body or gait."
While the disease gradually progresses to the point of severely impacting quality of life, "starting or continuing a routine of regular exercise has shown to make a big difference with regards to maintaining or improving mobility, balance and coordination in people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease," said Cea. "Regular exercise has also shown to improve both physical and mental health."
In order to help promote this "look good-feel good" mindset, Lex Ave Gym has developed a Rock Steady Boxing program designed to connect patients and caregivers in a sweat-pumping environment. Through a series of exercises aimed at increasing coordination and balance, patients are able to mitigate the diseases' effects while developing an equally important support network in the process.
"Support groups are important for any illness as they provide educational, emotional and social support for a chance at personal growth and a positive re-interpretation of the disease," said Cea. This is especially true with slow, steadily progressing illnesses such as Parkinson's.
In addition to Rock Steady Boxing, a Northern Westchester Hospital support group meets every third Monday of the month at the Chappaqua Crossing facility to discuss the challenges of living with and caring for Parkinson's.
"We have a combination of invited guest speakers and Care-n-Share sessions, where we have a roundtable discussion regarding a topic," said Cea. "We have had a lot of positive feedback regarding the speakers and the bond that has been made from others who truly understand what they are going through."
For more information on, or to register for, Northern Westchester Hospital's Parkinson's Support Group, email Veronica Cea at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (914) 458-8761.