With April being Parkinson Awareness Month, the Parkinson Association of Alberta (PAA) rolled out a new website to encompass their vision of the Circle of Help.
“Essentially, when a person becomes engaged with PAA as a member/client, a donor or a community supporter, they are joining our circle of help,” said Sherry Bower-Gagne, Client Services Coordinator for the Lloydminster Region.
“We are currently transferring information over to the new format so keep checking, there will always be something new. Our YouTube channel is also always being updated. It is full of exercise, motivation, and educational webinars,” she said.
Bower-Gagne works with clients all over the region including those from Vermilion, Wainwright, Elk Point, St. Paul, Cold Lake, and Bonnyville. Anybody from anywhere is welcome. She said families can join other community groups if the times don’t fit their schedule.
She said people living with Parkinson’s Disease are basically the professionals because they are able to learn so much from one another’s experience as well as develop friendships. She is just there to answer questions or give tips, and share opportunities for different programs the clients might benefit from.
“The biggest thing is the comradery and how they really understand each other. Having support can ease the burden of hearing a difficult diagnosis. Early on it can seem pretty scary because quite often, people don’t get a lot of tools or skills from their doctor, but this helps,” said Bower-Gagne.
“It really brings a group of people together giving them hope and empowering them, allowing them to look at quality of life.”
The PAA calendar has many exciting opportunities including singing groups, exercise for both clients and caregivers, physiotherapy, group and one on one support, as well as cognitive or voice and speech programs.
Meetings are currently virtual. Vermilion residents are invited to participate on the second Tuesday of each month and Bonnyville residents on the third Tuesday. People are still welcome to participate with the larger region if they can’t make it to their local online meeting.
“I am so very blessed to be part of such a great team that believes so deeply in what we do and work so hard to support our Parkinson family and each other,” said Bower-Gagne.
For more information you can call 1-800-561-1911 or visit parkinsonassociation.ca. You can also follow along at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2NpNHP1dFG7ngJN63Df_vg. To donate you can text HOPE to 80100.