Winter was “officially” ushered in with an East Coast snowfall this weekend (Dec. 9th for those of us in New England)…pretty to look at considering the upcoming holidays, but for many not experienced with snow and cold, tough to live through and with!
Television commercials are offering seasonal advice for winter skin care. Parkinson’s knows no particular season for its affects on skin. The Parkinson’s Foundation offers insights into all-year skin care and the reasons why some people experience unaccustomed changes.
Click here for lots of information that helps answer questions and offers helpful tips…and continue to drink LOTS of water!
Parkinson’s can create aches and stiffness in different parts of the body. As if that’s not enough challenge to contend with when trying to button a shirt or jacket, using utensils or tools, or opening containers, arthritis is often an unwanted companion, especially in the hands and wrists.
Read more from UC Berkeley School of Public Health about hand exercises that can offer some relief. Physical therapy with a therapist specially trained in working with hands is another option to consider.
And keep those hands warm during cold weather with gloves, mittens, and hand warmers!
Maybe it’s just a cold…or maybe it’s the often dangerous FLU!
For extremely important cold and flu season tips from the National Medical Director for the Parkinson’s Foundation for people with Parkinson’s, Click here
Since his appointment in 2006, Dr. Michael Okun has worked with the Centers of Excellence to help foster the best possible environments for care, research and outreach in Parkinson’s disease. He is a leading national spokesperson for Parkinson’s disease, and has been extensively quoted in The New York Times, Wall St. Journal, USA Today, CNN and other media.
Dr. Okun runs the popular Ask the Doctor forum on Parkinson.org, the NPF website, and writes a monthly blog on hot issues in research and care.
The following nutrition update was posted online at Parkinson’s News Today on October 30th. It originated from information provided at prevention.com
With winter just around the corner, it’s time we all started to look after ourselves a little more. Avoiding germs is one thing, but we can also try and boost our immune systems by getting plenty of sleep and eating the right foods.
Here are nine foods well-known for their immunity-boosting qualities:
1. Yogurt: Providing you can eat dairy without any side effects, the natural probiotics found in yogurt are great for keeping the gastrointestinal tract healthy and in order. Opt for ones without added sugar or sweeteners if possible.
2. Oats and barley: Adding oats to your diet in the winter is easy, you can start your day with a hot bowl of oatmeal and you can switch barley for rice with your evening meal. Both of these grains are gentle on the stomach and are high in antioxidants — important for fighting off those winter bugs.
3. Beef: Beef is full of zinc, which many of us are low in over the winter months. Zinc helps to form healthy white blood cells which are important in the fight against winter illnesses. To get the most out of beef aim for organic, grass-fed beef.
4. Garlic: For optimum garlic power, you should eat two cloves of raw garlic a day. However, if this sounds unpalatable then you can either take garlic capsules or use lots of garlic in your cooking. The allicin in garlic is great for helping to fight off colds and the flu.
5. Sweet potatoes: Full of beta-carotene which is great for your skin, sweet potatoes make a healthier alternative to regular potatoes and are much lower on the GI scale.
6. Oily fish and shellfish: Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are great sources of omega-3 which can help protect lungs from infections. The selenium found in shellfish such as prawns, oysters and mussels increases the amount of cytokines in the white blood cells which helps to fight off winter ailments.
7. Mushrooms: Mushrooms are also good for keeping our white blood cells healthy, and they are a great source of vitamin D — which is in short supply in the winter months. Add some to your favorite dishes for the immune boost.
8. Chicken soup: The go-to meal when you’re feeling under the weather, research shows that we should be eating chicken soup as a preventative dish as well as a restorative one. The salty brine helps to thin mucus, and the onions and vegetables added to the soup also provide bug-fighting nutrients.
9. Tea: Black and green tea both contain lots of cold-busting antioxidants, even the decaffeinated varieties. Add lemon and honey instead of milk and sugar for a blast of vitamin C and antibacterial goodness.
Wow! Did the high winds and rain from the October 29th storm shake our area almost to its core! Checking several times during the night to see if the cracking sounds were our towering pine trees dropping their heavy branches, I came across a poem I’d left on the kitchen table a few days before. This morning, with the sun once again shining but the winds still tearing at the trees, it seems a good time to share the poem’s message as a reminder about our strengths when life creates its storms.
The Oak Tree
by Johnny Ray Ryder, Jr.
A mighty wind blew night and day.
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away,
then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark,
until the oak was tired and stark.
But still the oak tree held its ground,
while other trees fell all around.
The weary wind gave up and spoke,
“How can you still be standing, Oak?”
The oak tree said, “I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away,
shake my limbs, and make me sway.”
“But I have roots stretched in the earth,
growing stronger since my birth.
You’ll never touch them, for you see,
they are the deepest part of me.”
“Until today, I wasn’t sure
of just how much I could endure.
But now I’ve found – with thanks to you –
I’m stronger than I ever knew.”
We had THE most incredible evening together on October 19th at our third annual fundraiser to help our programs continue!
One hundred-plus people gathered with us at the Danversport Yacht Club to share three hours of happy conversations, dancing and singing to the fantastic music provided by The MERJ – you missed a great mini “flash-mob” sequence secretly choreographed to “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered” by two of our very popular instructors, Dianna Daly and Kim Crowley, and some of their class members. The food was delicious and the silent auction and raffle items drew a lot of attention…thank you, donors and buyers!
And if you EVER hear that The MERJ band is playing near you, GO enjoy them! They are amazing and have music for every taste!
We’ll have photos to post soon, courtesy of our new friend, Lucas, a student from Endicott College in Beverly whose minor is in photography and who stepped forward to help us make memories when the photographer we’d recruited couldn’t come at the last minute! We’re looking forward to seeing his pictures and hopefully building a new relationship with him and creating future photos and videos of our classes!
As always, co-founder Linda Hall was on board tirelessly coordinating every detail. Her personal team of friends, led by Mary Orne, monitored the check-in and check-out tables and the databases of names…a huge undertaking they’ve handled for all three annual fundraisers! Keith Soper, artistic friend of the Hall’s, created the fundraiser invitation, and Jen Gonyea from Clarity Collaborative helped with all the necessary electronic communications to draw attention to the importance for holding the fundraiser. Co-founder, Keith Hall, was once again welcoming in his blend of humor and sincerity. Two Boston University/Sargent College rehabilitation specialists – Tami Deangelis and Teresa Baker – joined in with remarks about the work they perform and Keith’s participation in so many of their programs. Volunteer friend Marilyn Freeman read a poem she wrote and dedicated to Linda and Keith, and for anyone challenged with Parkinson’s or other life challenges:
When a New Day Dawns
For Keith and Linda Hall, who are the seekers, the listeners, and the singers of hope
Day comes again,
lighting a road still unmapped.
My mind joins dawn’s journey and I start to feel trapped.
Where can I go to escape words I’ve heard said
that shout their uncertainties so loud in my head?
The hands on the clock mimic my heart’s pulsing beat,
and the doctor’s diagnosis in my head still repeats.
How can I move toward a future when the deck is so stacked
with my questions unanswered – and often unasked?
I suppose I could just lie here,
willing off the obvious becoming now clear
that I’ll need to live a “different” life.
But who maps the way? Doctor, husband, family, wife?
I like my existence now, with its ups and its downs;
and I surely don’t want to feel somehow bound
to wondering if “Hope is the thing with feathers”,
will it sing songs for me?
Or will the changes scare away Hope’s bird,
leaving me doubts I wish I could free?
No one understands these thoughts – except for those who do.
It’s a see-saw of retreating – but then searching for the clues
for facing unknown tomorrows and seeking out the voices
that still sing through the storms and offer new choices.
Be a listener or be the bird who sings
Hope’s promise to self – and for others who cling
to their strengths oft’ forgotten – or yet still unknown –
“I’m like you, friend, and you’re not alone.”
October 19th was an evening that will be long remembered…and appreciated…by everyone on the Parkinson’s Fitness team. Thank you to all!
Parkinson’s Fitness and MedRhythms Neurologic Music Therapy collaborated to provide THE best educational seminar at the Beverly COA on September 7th!
MedRhythms Neurologic Music Therapy CEO/co-founder, Brian Harris, presented such interactive, engaging, eye-opening information, that all 78 of us who attended couldn’t believe how quickly an hour and a half passed by! Everyone remained completely focused on what Brian explained and demonstrated.
Video clips showing the effect of using music rhythms to reach areas of the brain that control speech, body movements, and cognition were fascinating, especially because actual patients were shown interacting with the MedRhythms therapists. Brian and a seminar audience volunteer held everyone’s attention as she participated in a demonstration of how rhythmic beat affects the way our brain “tells” the body how to move.
Our audience included people affected by Parkinson’s, stroke, traumatic brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy and other forms of neurologic conditions, as well as memory impairment. Brian’s program was a wonderful introduction into a complementary form of neurologic therapy. To witness in the videos the effect of specifically chosen rhythms on movement and gait, and the happy look of satisfaction on the face of a patient who re-gained his ability to once again communicate, was heartening to watch.
There’s a future filled with promise waiting to be explored by many people here in our local communities, and we will do whatever we possibly can to create a way to build programming that includes MedRhythms neurologic music therapies. We invite you to join our efforts!
To read more about MedRhythms, click here.
We’ve scheduled an Open House in September at the Lynn Fitness Center for people with Parkinson’s who want to learn how boxing is a great way to build stamina, strength, mental focus, balance, and agility.
Our plan is to expand our boxing program from one day to two. One class will continue as usual on Thursday afternoons in Salem, and the second will take place on weekends at the Lynn center to accommodate people unable to attend during the week. Come to the Open House and check out where, what and how this is going to happen and meet the instructors and a few of our Salem class members! Here are the particulars…
Where: Lynn Fitness Center, 161 Eastern Avenue, Lynn
When: Sunday, September 10, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM
For more information or to let us know you’re planning to attend, please click here or phone us at 781-572-5918.
A strong piece of advice was shared many times by a Parkinson’s support member during group meetings. One of his favorite trips was to Walt Disney World in Florida with his family…and he rode many of the rides, too!
“DON’T GIVE UP GOING PLACES THINKING THAT YOU CAN’T TRAVEL BECAUSE YOU HAVE PARKINSON’S!
LEAVE STUBBORN PRIDE BEHIND, LIVE YOUR LIFE AS BEST YOU CAN, AND HAVE SOME FUN WHILE DOING IT!”
The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation recently posted great tips on their web site about transportation and travel. Read more by clicking on the link below, and then start making YOUR plans! The rest of your life is waiting!
We’re excited about hosting a free educational seminar
in collaboration with MedRhythms Neurologic Therapy, Boston on September 7th!
When did Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) first appear?
“NMT was researched and developed by the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy in Fort Collins, Colorado.
The first certification program of NMT was held in 1999. Since then, Neurologic Music Therapy has seen rapid growth in healthcare.”
Millions of people lose language, cognitive, and movement abilities each year from neurologic disease or injury – i.e. Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Huntington’s, Cerebral Palsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, autism, etc. MedRhythms collaborates with individuals, medical clinicians, and assisted-living and nursing care staff on an inpatient and/or outpatient basis to restore quality to lives.
Most of us in our area are aware of the first-class neurological services available at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Charlestown, outside of Boston. “Spaulding Rehabilitation Network was one of the first rehab providers in the country to create a full-time Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) inpatient program and has now announced a partnership with Boston and Portland, Maine based MedRhythms to offer NMT services on an outpatient basis, making it the most comprehensive program of its kind in the nation.”
It is our hope that MedRhythms will become a recognized collaborative partner with residents, organizations, hospitals, and rehabilitation therapists in our North Shore Area.
Remember…while music therapy lifts spirits through singing, drumming, bell ringing, etc. …it’s also about connecting the brain and body
Click here to see seminar details and how to register for the September 7th event in Beverly. Register by September 1st!