In a heartwarming initiative, the Dubbo Parkinson's Support Group is extending a helping hand to the local community, providing a safe haven for individuals living with Parkinson's Disease and their caregivers.
(min cost $8)
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Through shared experiences and social connections, this group is not only easing the burden of the disease's challenges but also fostering a sense of camaraderie that is vital for well-being.
Meeting on the first Friday of every month at the Horizons Village Community Centre at 10.30am, the support group has become a cornerstone of support and companionship for those affected by Parkinson's.
Jim Jupp, the Support Group Leader, emphasised the significance of these meetings.
"These meetings are a great opportunity for people living with Parkinson's to meet other locals in the same boat, to share experiences and connect socially," Mr Jupp said.
"Parkinson's is a degenerative neurological disease which affects many aspects of your life because it has both physical and mental symptoms, and particularly affects your mobility.
"Carers for partners or family members with Parkinson's bear a particular burden - they need opportunities to break their routine and get out into the community, and to find that they are not alone in the challenges they are facing."
The unique feature of the group lies in its capacity to connect individuals who share similar journeys.
As the disease's effects extend beyond the physical realm, the support group provides an avenue for individuals to share experiences, challenges, and victories in a supportive environment.
Caregivers, who play an indispensable role in supporting their loved ones through the journey of Parkinson's, also find solace in the community.
Stacey Foster, Support Group Coordinator of Parkinson's NSW, said these gatherings are of utmost importance, particularly in regional areas like Dubbo.
"Support Groups are a forum for sharing evidence-based information on Parkinson's between specialist appointments, providing social opportunities and developing a community of care through peer support," she said.
In rural and remote areas like Dubbo, specialised medical services for Parkinson's may be limited, making these support groups even more crucial.
With Parkinson's NSW striving to enhance the lives of individuals living with Parkinson's, their families, and caregivers, these support groups serve as a bridge of information, care, and connection.
"For caregivers, attending a support group provides a valuable outlet to share their experiences with others going through the same challenges," Ms Foster said.
The emotional toll of caring for someone with a degenerative condition can be immense, and these meetings offer caregivers a platform to seek guidance, vent their feelings, and find understanding among peers.
While these meetings act as a platform for sharing, they also encompass a diverse range of activities that contribute to both physical and mental well-being. Exercise sessions, guest speakers, and round-table discussions are integral parts of the meetings.
"Exercise sessions are also popular - including dancing, non-contact boxing, singing and voice projection exercises," Ms Foster said.
"Exercise helps to slow the progression of Parkinson's symptoms."
The Dubbo Parkinson's Support Group boasts an average attendance of around 20 individuals from Dubbo and its surrounding districts and encourages more people to attend.
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