Ideas for support group discusssion taken from Parkinson's Foundation exellent 35 page support group guide
Accessible dining, recreation and travel options
Aging in our county: Transportation and other resources
The “ins and outs” of home care
What you need to know about assisted living facilities,
Continuum of Care
Brainstorm as a group the many benefits of attending a PD support group, both in the short and long term. For example, 1) not feeling alone, 2) feeling better after meetings, 3) being able to talk to friends who understand and accept you, 4) being inspired by the group and gaining empathy for the person with PD, and 5) boosting confidence in your ability to cope with PD. Share these benefits and personal testimonials with the whole group:
What helped you the most when you were newly diagnosed, as well as what did not help you when you were newly diagnosed. This can be a satisfying exercise to help people vent, but also take away constructive and practical strategies for how to speak with people in their lives and communities about PD.
Pick a topic to discuss from the Comprehensive PD library, including books, fact sheets, videos and webcasts and newsletters: www.parkinson.org/library
Visit to read and download dozens of fact sheets on almost any aspect of PD you can imagine.
1. What does the word “Parkinson’s” mean to you? How did you feel when you first heard it?
2. At what age is Parkinson’s most likely to develop? How old were you when you were diagnosed? Thinking back, how old were you when symptoms first began?
3. What are the symptoms of Parkinson’s?
4. How does the brain control movement? What happens when dopamine is in short supply?
5. Do we know the cause of PD — that is, what causes the early death of the brain’s dopamine producing cells? What are some of the current “theories”?
6. How is Parkinson’s most likely to affect your daily life and activities? Are all of these changes unavoidable?
7. What is the best way to describe Parkinson’s to a friend, co-worker or family member?
Coping with PD, like any chronic illness, is a matter of personal resources, experience and style.
No two people will cope the same way. However, there is some common wisdom to be found
among all those who live and cope with PD day to day. Let’s hear from our own group.
1. What has changed since your diagnosis of PD? What has changed because of it?
2. What do you tell yourself about your condition? What do you tell others?
3. What is the most difficult thing to cope with? What is the easiest (for you)?
4. What do you worry about most? How and with whom do you share your worries?
5. Who helps you cope — and how do they do it?
6. What thoughts or actions help you cope — and why do they work for you?
7. What practical advice would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed with PD, or to his or her care partner?
8. Why is “cope” the step between “mope” and “hope?”