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Unique Parkinson’s Program Emphasizes Self-Management

Eleanor Brownridge

Empowerment is the goal of a two-year-old program for people with Parkinson's. The Parkinson's Early Intervention Program at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto is a 10-week education and exercise program for newly-diagnosed patients. Spouses are also encouraged to attend the twice weekly, two-hour sessions.

"Our goal is [to] help the participants develop problem-solving and health behaviour changes," says senior physiotherapist, Rebecca Gruber, the coordinator of the program. "We want to give them a sense of control over their destiny by encouraging them to set and achieve personal goals suitable for their lifestyle."


Physiotherapist Jan Goldstein (left) leads stretching exercise with members of the Parkinson's
Early Intervention Program at
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care.

Patients applying for the program should have been diagnosed with Parkinson's within the last three years. "Time is of the essence," says Gruber. "Early intervention with appropriate exercises can prevent or delay some of the disabilities that commonly occur." To make it easier for the newly-diagnosed Parkinsonian, all the resources and expertise needed have been brought together under one roof.