Parkinson Society, VON launch exercise program

The Parkinson Society of southwestern Ontario and VON Canada have formed a partnership for a new exercise program for people living with Parkinson’s. It begins the week of Feb.13.

The Parkinson’s Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together (SMART) Integration Project was funded through the South West Local Health Integration Network to provide the opportunity to exercise in a safe environment with others who experience similar challenges.

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disorder that affects smooth coordinated muscle movements in the body. Many people with Parkinson’s experience challenges with everyday tasks such as walking, eating, swallowing and communicating with others.

This six-week exercise program is designed to bring together people who are affected by Parkinson’s, providing information, exercise and additional support to caregivers.  The group exercise program will emphasize fun social interactions in a community setting while providing instruction twice a week on exercises appropriate for people living with the disease.

These programs will provide everyday fitness strategies that will help people achieve a better quality of life with Parkinson’s.

There are nearly 100,000 Canadians who suffer from this neuro-degenerative disorder that causes symptoms such as tremors, slowness and stiffness, impaired balance and rigidity of the muscles.

This number is expected to double by 2016 to over 200,000 people. Once thought to be a disease exclusive to the elderly, 1 in 10 people will be under the age of 40 at the time of diagnosis.

There is currently no known cause or cure for Parkinson’s.  

For further information on how to register or volunteer for the Listowel Parkinson’s VON SMART Exercise Program, call Lindsay Van Bergen at 519-291-5898.