QUESTION: Just recently a friend of mine was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I am at a loss of exactly what Parkinson’s disease is and what I can do to help my friend. Is there somewhere that I can go to learn more?
ANSWER: I am sorry to hear about your friend but glad to hear that you want to learn more about this disease.
Your question is also very timely since April is Parkinson’s disease Awareness Month. It has been just over two centuries since Dr. James Parkinson first extensively characterized the major symptoms of the disease that came to bear his name in 1817.
Since then understanding of the disease has improved and effective treatment has been developed but the disease remains a huge challenge to both those who suffer from it and those involved in its management.
Parkinson’s is a chronic, degenerative, neurological disorder that causes muscle, tremor, stiffness and weakness. The characteristic signs are trembling, a rigid posture, slow movements and a shuffling, unbalanced walk.
The disease usually begins as a slight tremor of one hand, arm or leg and in the early stages the tremor is worse when the hand or limb is at rest and the shaking virtually stops when the hand or limb is in use.
To learn more about the disease itself and to understand more about how to live with and treat Parkinson’s I suggest that you join a support group. Listed below is the information about support groups in our area and I am sure that you can find one that is close to your home.
Camarillo Parkinson Disease Support Group meets the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at the Camarillo Health Care District, 3639 Las Posas Road in Camarillo. For more information call Art at (805) 482-6382.
Ojai Parkinson Disease Support Group meets the 2nd Tuesday of the month from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at Little House Multi-Purpose Center for Help at 111 W. Santa Ana Street in Ojai. For more information call Jodi at (805) 646-5122.
Simi Valley Parkinson Support Group meets on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi in Simi Valley. For more information call the center at (805) 583-6363.
Westlake Village Parkinson Disease & Caregiver Support Groups meet the 1st Friday of the month from 9:00 to 10:00 am (Caregiver Support) and 10:15 to 11:30 am (support group) at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 32111 Watergate Road in Westlake Village. For information call Bev at (805) 379-3823.
The Ventura Parkinson Disease Support Group meets the 2nd Wednesday of the month (today) from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at Lexington Assisted Living, 5440 Ralston Street in Ventura. For information call Patty at (805) 766-6070.
To learn more about this disease and statistics contact the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Parkinson’s News Today and the Parkinson’s Foundation.
TODAY – April 11 – 11:00 am to 1:00 pm – Health & Wealth EXPO – 30 vendors specializing in health care and wealth planning – Keynote Speaker Comedian Randy Lubas – “Laughter is the Best Medicine” – at Cypress Place Senior Living, 1200 Cypress Point Lane in Ventura.
THURSDAY – April 12 – 10:00 to 11:30 am – Seminar – “Save Your Brain” – at Agoura Hills Recreation & Event Center, 29900 Ladyface Court, Agoura Hills. For reservations call (818) 597-7361.
FRIDAY – April 13 – 8:30 am to 1:00 pm – AARP Driver Safety Refresher Class – at Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road in Thousand Oaks. Reservations can be made by calling (805) 381-2744.
TUESDAY – April 17 – 9:00 to 11:00 am – Workshop – “Living Within Your Means” – at Simi Valley Senior Center, 3900 Avenida Simi in Simi Valley. For reservations call (805) 583-6363.
TUESDAY – April 24 – 4:00 to 5:30 pm – Seminar – “Navigating a Hospital Stay” – at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks. For reservations call (805) 497-0189.
WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY -April 25 & 26 – 1:00 to 5:00 pm – AARP Smart Driver Full Course – Pleasant Valley Senior Center, 1605 Burnley Street, Camarillo – Registration must be made by April 18. For information call (805) 482-4881.
SATURDAY – April 28 – 11:30 am to 1:00 pm – “Memory Café” – a social gathering for those with memory loss and their family caregivers – at Senior Concerns Day Care Center, 401 Hodencamp Road in Thousand Oaks. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (805) 497-0189.
Betty Berry is a senior advocate for Senior Concerns. The advocates are located at the Goebel Adult Community Center, 1385 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362 or call (805) 495-6250 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (please include your telephone number.) You are invited to submit questions on senior issues.