What is Parkinson‘s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder that affects the nerve cells that produce dopamine, a necessary neurotransmitter responsible for controlling movement, attention, mood, and motivation. This consequently leads to common symptoms of PD which include tremors, slowness in activity, lack of ability to balance, and muscle rigidity. Non-motor symptoms can also appear in some patients such as depression, anxiety, cognitive impairment, and sleep problems. In some cases, a person’s blood pressure regulation, gastrointestinal processes, and respiratory system are affected.
This disorder was first documented by physician James Parkinson in his Essay on the Shaking Palsy in 1817. To this day, PD is a widely discussed neurodegenerative disorder with no known cure, second after Alzheimer’s disease.
A combination of environmental factors and family genetic predisposition to the disease may be direct causes of Parkinson’s disease. Every case is different and not every patient may experience all of these symptoms. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the ways in which the disease can manifest and how best to manage the condition together with medical professionals.
My motivation for getting ParkinsonWISE Certified was rooted in my experience with friends and family. Both my mother-in-law, Helen, and my best friend and roommate, Bill were diagnosed with PD.
My first-hand experience with the daily struggles they faced exposed me to the physical, psychological, and emotional toll this disease can take. Watching them deal with their symptoms and the limitations in their daily lives inspired me to learn more about this disease and gain the necessary skills to be a trusted support for the PD community. Being certified opened up numerous possibilities and opportunities for me to be an advocate for individuals with patients and their families.
ParkinsonWISE® Certification— A Brief History
Ron wanted to find a fitness professional knowledgeable in the special challenges of Parkinson’s in their local gym but could not find one. This prompted a number of professionals to find a solution to this concern.
Christine Shade, a NeuroPhysical Therapist at Kaiser, offered to modify Kaiser’s internal programs to educate non-medical professionals. Dr. Suketu M. Khandhar, then, championed the concept and presented it to the members of the Parkinson’s Association of Northern California (PANC) Medical Advisory Panel.
Three months later, on April 30, 2016, Kaiser Neuroscience launched the first ParkinsonWISE program. A total of 45 dedicated professionals attended the three-hour session held at Kaiser’s Point West facility, which focused on basic Parkinson’s information and solutions for common issues. This revolutionary program is believed to be the first of its kind.
ParkinsonWISE® Certification— A Noble Mission
ParkinsonWISE® certification is a program established to create a direct connection between medical care and local community fitness and wellness professionals. Through this program, professionals who have completed the ParkinsonWISE® course will be awarded a Certificate of Training. This Certificate will be included in PANC’s list of Trained Professionals, granting them permission to supply helpful advice to the Parkinson’s community.
This initiative also allows the PD community to have access to qualified and reliable resources. This collaboration aims to create an environment of support and inclusion while increasing awareness and knowledge of Parkinson’s disease.
Living with Parkinson’s Disease can be a challenging experience for both the patient and their family. It brings an array of difficulties— from mobility issues to cognitive decline and even changes in behavior.
For families of Parkinson’s Disease patients, identifying sources of care in order to develop the best possible care plan for their loved ones is a difficult task. In this regard, getting certified as a ParkinsonWISE® professional can be beneficial. It allows us to better serve and care for our loved ones as well as other Parkinson’s Disease patients and their families.
Our training also enables us to embody our mission of recognizing the dignity and humanity of every person in our care while recognizing that each individual’s symptoms and needs are unique. This work also provides us with the opportunity to show our compassion, empathy, and understanding as we show our gratitude for life, knowing that even when life presents us with challenging circumstances, we can help one another to make the tough times more bearable.