Author: Marilyn


Since childhood, many of us have learned to remember things using a phrase or word in sequences or rhythms…an example being learning the letters of the alphabet by singing the “alphabet song”. This is called “mnemonics“. Growing older tests our memory power in so many ways!

Try these simple mnemonic examples to discover how the brain pieces things together. Fill in the blanks to complete the phrases.

  • One, two, _____ my shoe. Three, _____, open the ______.   Five, ______, pick up ______.  Seven, eight _____  them ______. Nine, ten a _____ _____ _____.
  • Red ____ in the ________, sailor take  _______.   Red sky ___  ____, sailor’s _____.
  • Sing:  Are you _______, are you ________, Brother _____?  Brother ____?  Morning ______ are ______. Morning ______ are ringing. Ding, ____, ______.

Did the exercises sound familiar? What words, rhythms, or music have helped you to remember things? Don’t have any? Try making some up of your own!


Incontinence often becomes a side effect connection to Parkinson’s that creates questions that go unasked and therefore unanswered during medical visits.  Why is that? Embarrassment about discussing “bodily functions”? No seemingly obvious link between the brain and the gastro-urinary system? The link below has excellent information and suggestions.

“The University of California, San Francisco Medical Center has an international reputation for its excellence as a clinical and research facility, and the UCSF Department of Neurology is widely recognized as one of the leading neuroscience centers in the United States.

The Parkinson’s Disease Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco Department of Neurology has been a National Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence since 1992.”


A growing number of younger people are being diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s. Many men and women are still actively working and wondering about having “the talk” with an employer about the future. Advice found in the web site link below is particularly important, as is educating oneself about workplace rights under the American with Disabilities Act:

“Give yourself time to absorb the news, and take some time to educate yourself about Parkinson’s disease and how it will progress over time. …you don’t want to talk to your boss about Parkinson’s if you yourself know very little about the disorder and can’t answer questions.” 

“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA;, which is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, prohibits workplace discrimination due to disability as long as you can demonstrate that you can perform the job in question when reasonable adjustments are made to accommodate you.” 

Click on the link to read excellent “talking points” for holding open, honest discussion with an employer, human resources staff, and fellow employees.

Young (“early”) Onset Parkinson’s support group information is available by contacting the American Parkinson Disease Association Massachusetts Chapter’s Information & Referral Service located in Boston (


In the May 8, 2017 online issue of Parkinson’s News Today, a “Facts You May Not Know About Parkinson’s” article includes the following information – interesting reading!

The types of exercise you choose will depend, to some degree, on the severity of your Parkinson’s disease and your overall health. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, the exercises should be varied and incorporate changing directions through unplanned movement, cardiovascular exercise, balance, strength training and rhythmical exercises.

Unplanned and Random Movement
The exercises listed require the person to change tempo and direction regularly. These will challenge a person mentally as well as physically as they require concentration to perform.
• Walking, hiking or jogging
• Racket sports such as badminton, table tennis, squash
• Yoga or Tai Chi
• Outdoor cycling
• Dancing
• Aerobic classes
• Marching with swinging arms
• Swimming in different strokes

Planned and Repeated Movement
These exercises are generally repeated movements that require balance. They can be performed while doing something that challenges a person mentally, such as watching a quiz show or the news, throwing and catching balls, singing, or problem-solving.
• Cycling on a static bike
• Weightlifting using light weights
• Swimming laps in the same stroke
• Slow walking on a treadmill


Members of our Salem and Beverly Strength in Motion  classes instructed by Kim Crowley are finding themselves stronger and with better control over their mobility issues. And little wonder about that! Read on to learn about the other kinds of classes Kim is independently involved with locally. We’re so fortunate that she is willing to share her incredible energy, time and knowledge twice a week as one of our Parkinson’s Fitness team of instructors!

Coupled with her active home life as a busy wife and mom, here’s just a peek into a few of the ways Kim teaches elsewhere during the week.

Introduction to Muscle Training, Strength and Stretch, Weight Training, Senior Boot Camp, Small Group Circuit Training and…wait for it!…ZUMBA!

And speaking of Zumba, Kim and colleague Rachelle Bruzzese recently participated in an annual fundraising “Zumbathon” to raise money for Children’s Charities. The money raised this year went to Boston Children’s Hospital and Over $3,000 was raised!

Way to go, Kim!

Click here for our weekly schedule that includes Kim’s Strength in Motion classes.



Emotional and behavioral changes are common in people with chronic diseases, but these changes are even more common in PD. The same neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine) that regulate movement also regulate our mood. Therefore, the same processes in the brain that lead to the more classical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can cause depression. When dopamine-producing cells in the brain die, movement AND mood can be affected. In this case, depression is actually a symptom of PD, not a reaction to the diagnosis.”

The National Parkinson’s Foundation offers important insight into the many reasons for mood changes when coping with Parkinson’s. Their recent publication – “Mood: A Mind Guide to Parkinson’s Disease” – is available for on-line download and also in printed editions. Click here for details



The Michael J. Fox Foundation is well known for the vast amounts of information they make available for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Often we have questions to ask our personal physicians, but either forget to do it, the doctor seems over-scheduled and hurried during an appointment, or perhaps he or she simply doesn’t know the answer.

Take some time to visit this link to the Foundation’s “Ask the MD” video series, where answers to some of your concerns may be available. Be sure to click on the button labeled “load more posts” located under the first few videos before leaving the site.




May is another kind of national “awareness” month. What’s the subject? Unfortunately, it’s melanoma skin cancer. Did you know that there’s a see-saw balance between the benefits of sunshine and the risks that having too much exposure create for people with Parkinson’s? It’s important that you read further…

Let’s stay positive first. Enjoying moderate exposures to sunshine can help the brain boost its serotonin levels. That’s an “upper” because serotonin is what helps brighten our mood. Sunshine also helps our circadian rhythms stay on track, which keeps the body’s “clock” running more efficiently. And exposure to the sun’s UV rays can also help clear up eczema and psoriasis skin conditions. (Just remember that if you have one of those skin conditions, talk with a doctor to manage just how much sunshine to enjoy.)

Now, for the not-so-positive information: In a 2015 “Ask the MD” article written by Dr. Rachel Dolhun for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, studies are described that explain some of the research that links Parkinson’s and melanoma risks. Click here to read what Dr. Dolhun shared.

Researchers also advised in a 2016 “Melanoma News Today” article that: “It is prudent that dermatologists be aware of this increased risk of melanoma and explain this risk to their patients with Parkinson’s and recommend to them sun protection, self-surveillance, and periodic skin check-up.”  Have any of YOUR physicians mentioned this to you? The article is available to read here as another important resource for healthy living.

Now that you know more about this possible link, be certain that your doctor includes an examination of all your skin surfaces, including areas where the sun DOESN’T shine, such as the soles of the feet and the buttocks.

As recently as May 4th this year, the government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued preventive warnings for everyone, many of which you may find familiar. They are certainly worth reading, especially as summer fun time approaches. Click here for the CDC resource updates. While you’re learning these safety tips about sun exposure, remember your eyes too and wear sunglasses!



There are some people you just DON’T want to under-estimate!

The boxing area provided for our use at the Salem Fitness Center is a great place to work on the benefits of shifting one’s center of gravity and improving footwork, balance, cognitive focus, and general body conditioning…not to mention being able to punch out frustrations on the heavy bags!

To “meet” the instructors, read about the program, find our location, and view a calendar:

click here

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