April Is Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Residences at Coffee Creek Is Helping Porter County “Take Swings” at the Disease by hosting Free Support & Targeted Exercise Therapy

What is Parkinson’s Disease (“PD”)?

Parkinson’s Disease or “PD” for short, is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately the dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra, as defined by parkinsons.org. (https://www.parkinson.org/).

Symptoms of PD generally develop slowly over years. The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease. People with PD may experience:

  • Tremor, mainly at rest and described as pill rolling tremor in hands; other forms of tremor are possible
  • Slowness and paucity of movement (called bradykinesia and hypokinesia)
  • Limb stiffness (rigidity)
  • Gait and balance problems (postural instability)

Where to find support for Parkinson’s:

Every Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Porter County a free and inclusive Parkinson’s Support Group and Exercise Program meets at Residences at Coffee Creek Senior Living. The support group and exercise program are open to the public, inviting not only family members who are caregivers but also Parkinson’s patients themselves, to attend this unique approach to supporting the Parkinson’s community, free of charge.

Parkinson’s patients attend the free, specialized, and unique exercise program designed for those who struggle with the symptoms of Parkinson’s, led by a certified trainer, in the Residences at Coffee Creek Fitness Center while family meets to share challenges and exchange coping tips. After the exercise class concludes, the two groups rejoin and participate further in the Support Group together.  Joining people and families with similar struggles helps the entire community find strength and comfort to overcome the obstacles they face together.  While perhaps cliché, there is significant strength in numbers.

How does BOXING help those with Parkinson’s?

The Parkinson’s Exercise Class is taught by a certified personal trainer with over 30 years of experience in “Rock Steady Boxing”.  Bob DiFiglio, our Exercise Program leader is happy to tell patients and their families all about the benefits of “putting up your dukes” and taking a swing at the invisible opponent (Parkinson’s). Learning some of the simple shadow-boxing techniques helps patients “fight back” symptoms.  The workouts vary week-to-week but the different moves and exercises work together to improve flexibility, balance, agility, gait, posture, endurance, breathing, toning, weight loss, and muscle building—all affected so negatively by Parkinson’s.

“Bob the Trainer”

The goal is to help patients maintain the ability to perform the daily activities of living as independently as possible for as long as possible.  Loss of independence so often leads to depression.  The strength-training program combats the risk of depression and helps to prevent injuries that may result from the weakness that becomes part of Parkinson’s without exercise.  Cardio Drumming is another aspect of the Exercise Program, combining cardio exercise and drumming to the rhythm of music.

Parkinson’s Support Group Exercise Program participants love boxing

Did You Know the Parkinson’s Support Group Is Celebrating Its 2nd Year Here in Porter County?

Mission accomplished; expectations for Porter County’s only Parkinson’s Support Group have been exceeded! Now begins another successful year here at Residences at Coffee Creek Senior Living,  all thanks to the efforts of Evelyn Morrison and Linda Stack (their husbands are diagnosed with Parkinson’s) who saw the need for the support group to be accessible in this area.

Evelyn and Linda were initially impressed by the unique support group model from The Villages in Florida that included the exercise program during the meetings so patients could benefit from the weekly exercise.  The model was introduced to them by mutual friend Deb Butterfield, whose mother had benefited from The Villages program. The program is now new to our area thanks to these diligent spouses and caregivers.

Parkinson’s Support Group founders Evelyn and Derik Morrison and Linda and Bill Stack (seated)

Dunes Hospice (https://www.duneshospicellc.com/) is also a gracious sponsor of the program.

Last year, Residences at Coffee Creek initiated their first 5K Fun Run and Walk dedicating proceeds to the group to support Parkinson’s Research and Awareness. The funds raised also helped increase the frequency of the exercise class and support group from twice a month to weekly and aided in maintaining the program’s availability to the public free of charge.

The 2nd Annual Coffee Creek 5k Fun Run and Walk is scheduled for Saturday, May 4, 2024 and will once again designate proceeds to the Parkinson’s Support Group & Exercise Program.

  • Registration fee of $30 includes race T-shirt and finishing gift and must be completed by Race Day to be guaranteed a T-shirt
  • Early Race packet pick-up is Friday May 3 10am-6 pm at 2300 Village Point, Chesterton
  • Race Day Check-In 9 am; Race starts at 10 am
  • Healthy, chef-prepared lunch will be available for $10 purchase following the Run/Walk
  • For more information call (219) 921-5200—Register Online  (https://residencesseniorliving.com/events/2nd-annual-5k-fun-run/)
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