Parkinson’s support group coming to Fort Payne

Pictured is Chelsea Williams, of Encore Rehabilitation at DeKalb Regional Medical Center, a 10-year specialist who concentrates in Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Parkinson’s therapy.

Encore Rehabilitation Inc. and DeKalb Regional Medical Center have partnered to sponsor a locally-based Parkinson’s Support Group beginning at 1 p.m. June 10 at the DeKalb County Transportation and Council on Aging in Fort Payne.

Leading the new group is Physical Therapist Assistant and certified Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery Moves Therapist (PWR), Chelsea Williams of Encore Rehabilitation at DeKalb Regional Medical Center, a 10-year specialist who concentrates in Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Parkinson’s therapy.

“Immediately after receiving my PWR! Moves certification in October of 2019, I wanted to develop a Parkinson’s support group for our area,” she said. “Community involvement is so important with this disease.”

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, nearly one million people in the U.S. are living with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The number is expected to rise to 1.2 million by 2030 with approximately 60,000 Americans diagnosed each year and more than 10 million people worldwide living with PD.

In her effort to start up a support group, Williams contacted the Parkinson’s Association of Alabama and arranged a meeting with a representative in hopes to jumpstart her endeavor.

“I was amazed at all the resources available for starting a local group and also for people with Parkinson’s disease,” she said. “The representative suggested contacting my local Council on Aging for assistance and I knew the perfect person, Joyce Rabinowitz, activities coordinator at the council on aging in Fort Payne.”

After speaking with Rabinowitz and DeKalb County Transportation and Council on Aging Director Emily McCamy, Williams said the trio began working out the details to kick start the support group.

“Then, COVID-19 hit and we had to put all of our plans on hold for a year,” she said. “But we are back and ready to go since restrictions have been lifted.”

The Parkinson’s Support Group will meet every second Thursday of the month at 1 p.m. and is open to individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and caregivers.

Williams said the group will discuss everyday issues associated with Parkinson’s, hear up-to-date expert speakers including medical doctors, nurses, drug representatives and multiple therapists, all while building a community of support.

“Parkinson’s progression slows with moderate, vigorous exercise and cognitive function is less likely to decline with regular socialization,” she said. “Each person affected with the disease has their own daily challenges whether it may be walking on an uneven surface, standing from a chair or playing with grandbabies.”

The group's mission is to provide information, inspiration, encouragement, resources, laughter and socialization for all those affected by Parkinson’s.

“There is no need to register to attend the group and it's free,” said Williams. “We invite anyone diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or their loved ones to attend.”

Organizers encourage participants to attend the meeting on Thursday, June 10 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the DeKalb County Transportation and Council on Aging located at 600 Tyler Avenue SE Fort Payne, AL 35967.

For additional information call 256-997-2460 and for daily updates follow Encore Rehabilitation at DeKalb Regional Medical Center on Facebook @EncoreFortPayne.

“I have high hopes for this group and wish to be able to provide information to all those affected,” said Williams.

Encore Rehabilitation, Inc. is one of America's most diversified rehabilitation providers providing services in outpatient clinics along with contract services for healthcare facilities, nursing facilities, schools, businesses and various other settings.

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