Category: Parkinson’s self-help


“Transitions” is defined this way: passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another”.

Exploring the phrase “passage from…one place to another” quickly emphasizes that when and how to make the decision to downsize a home and/or move into either assisted living or a nursing facility isn’t…or shouldn’t be…achieved in a single step. Consider the following information from Massachusetts-based 2Sisters Senior-living Consultants, as posted on their website under “frequently asked questions”:

If making a decision about entering a nursing home, the following advisory will hopefully answer some questions and provide opportunities to attend seminars:

What are some of the most common mistakes to avoid when choosing a nursing home? 
Emily Rogue, LNHA, CDP, CSA – Nursing Home Specialist:

#1. Choosing a nursing home based on location alone.

Certainly, it’s beneficial to find a facility close to your support system, whether that means your adult children, friends, or community, so they can visit and be involved in your care. But that’s only one factor. Other important things to consider are therapy outcomes, inspection scores, and staffing ratios. Going to a nursing home is a big decision; the quality of care offered matters a great deal.

#2. Choosing a nursing home based on recent renovations.

It is tempting to choose the facility with the fancy new lobby chandelier and perfectly manicured front lawn. But even if a facility seems old and outdated, it is not necessarily a reflection of poor care — some nursing homes invest in important care factors, such as paying their staff higher wages. Pay attention to cleanliness (do the hallways and rooms appear clean and uncluttered?), culture (do people seem friendly and helpful?), smell (this could be an indicator of untimely care), and resident engagement (are there activities happening?).

#3. Waiting for the need to arise.

Most of the best nursing homes have wait lists. Hospital discharge can happen quickly, leaving families with little time to vet potential options. To avoid having to make a quick decision, begin familiarizing yourself with the options in your area now. Fill out a few applications and get on the wait lists for your top choices. Empower yourself to be an educated consumer and take charge of your healthcare!

Upcoming 2Sisters Events

Navigating Elder Care Without Losing Your Sanity — A Panel Discussion for Adult Children and Seniors
Thursday, January 23rd, 6:00 PM
Needham Council on Aging
300 Hillside Ave, Needham Heights, MA 02494

With Brenda Stewart, CSA, CDP, 2Sisters Senior Living Advisors; Roberta Hershorn, Realtor, Seniors Real Estate Specialist, Louise Condon Realty; Maana Hickson, Esq. Rubin Hay PC; Brett Goverman, CFP, Financial Solutions Associates

Navigating Elder Care Without Losing Your Sanity — A Panel Discussion for Adult Children and Seniors
Thursday, February 6th, 6:45 PM
Sharon Community Center
219 Massapoag Ave, Sharon, MA 02067

With Brenda Stewart, CSA, CDP, 2Sisters Senior Living Advisors; Roberta Hershorn, Realtor, Louise Condon Realty, Seniors Real Estate Specialist; Linda K. Fisher, Esq. JD, MBA, LLM Taxation, Fisher Law

Navigating Elder Care Without Losing Your Sanity — A Panel Discussion for Adult Children and Seniors
Tuesday, March 10th, 6:00 PM
Dedham Library
43 Church St, Dedham, MA 02026

With Brenda Stewart, CSA, CDP, 2Sisters Senior Living Advisors; Roberta Hershorn, Realtor, Seniors Real Estate Specialist, Louise Condon Realty; Maria Baler, Esq., Samuel, Sayward & Baler, LLC; Brett Goverman, CFP, Financial Solutions Associates

How Not to Choose a Nursing Home
Tuesday, March 10th, 10:00 AM
Watertown Council on Aging
31 Marshall Street, Watertown, MA 02472

Join Emily Rogue, LNHA, CDP, CSA, 2Sisters Nursing Home Specialist, as she reveals the five most common mistakes people make when choosing a nursing home and offers guidance for making wise decisions instead.






If you have a family member or know someone with bi-polar disorder, studies show that the chances of their developing Parkinson’s disease increases!

Quoting from a recent article in Parkinson’s News Today: “Data from seven studies, involving 4, 374, 211 total participants, were used. The selected studies contained data on the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease in individuals with bipolar disorder versus those who did not have this condition.”

Read the full text of the October 17th article titled “People With Bipolar Disorder Face Higher Risk of Later Developing Parkinson’s, Study Finds”


Almost everyone has heard about the importance of getting enough vitamin D to maintain good bone density and strength. One side of the health coin suggests spending time outside absorbing direct sunshine, while the other side warns about too much exposure and the very real concern of developing skin cancer. When blood tests reveal low vitamin D levels, physicians often prescribe vitamin D in pill form.

Quoting from an article released in the August 2019 Parkinson’s News Today:

“Some studies support that lack of vitamin D results in a greater risk of falls and fractures in Parkinson’s patients, which can increase hospitalization and even fatal disability. Its levels also have been associated with cognition and mood, as well as stomach malfunction in people with the disease. …People with lower vitamin D levels were more likely to fall and experience sleep problems, including difficulty in falling asleep (insomnia). They also had significantly more depression and anxiety.” 

Read more here about the effect of low vitamin D levels on Parkinson’s non-motor symptoms. Discussions with one’s doctor, including requests for blood tests to monitor vitamin D levels, are another potential add-on life-management tool.



There was intention in our theme for this year’s September 14th symposium, and for those who attended (and for those who couldn’t but have read or heard about the event), we wanted to instill the importance of building and maintaining resilience to Parkinson’s challenges.

Coincidentally, in this week’s Parkinson’s News Today, columnist Sherri Woodbridge (diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s over 15 years ago) focused her subject material with a similar emphasis.

Click here to read her latest reflections about giving up not being an option, and her reminder about seeking purpose…NO MATTER WHAT!


Left to right:
Melanie Giles, Marie Lucey, Dr. Stephanie Bissonnette, Linda Hall (Parkinson’s Fitness co-founder), Anne Muskopf, Stephanie Recchia

With location hosting once again provided by the Danvers Community YMCA and their friendly, helpful staff and volunteers – with additional event assistance from YMCA Outreach Director Suzanne Malach – all was in readiness on September 14th for welcoming the 123-plus audience participants, 5 speakers, and 16 education exhibitors,  to our “Living Well with Parkinson’s: Building Resilience Foundations” symposium!

Five engaging guest speakers offered guidance about how to live stronger and create and maintain enjoyable, safe ways of everyday living.

Geriatric Medical Social Worker and keynote speaker, Stephanie Recchia, described resilience in terms related to searching within and beyond one’s self and discovering how past experiences and even personality traits affect adaptability to living with life-changing prolonged illness. She stressed the need for creating an interdisciplinary medical team, as well as strong family and peer support. Stephanie’s insightful remarks transitioned into how to re-create (or start) building strong inner foundations that help promote experiences of happiness and productivity.

Dr. Stephanie Bissonnette from the Boston Medical Center and BU School of Medicine focused on neurology. Marie Lucey from the Center for Balance, Mobility and Wellness at Gordon College addressed the importance of physical therapy. Melanie Olson Giles from the Speech Therapy Group in Beverly spoke about maintaining strong vocal communication capabilities and safe swallowing therapies. Anne Muscopf from the Jewish Family & Children’s Service Parkinson’s Family Support Program presented ways of creating activities of everyday lifestyle adaptations, as well as the potential use of assistive devices when necessary.

Parkinson’s Fitness instructors:
left: Dianna Daly, Balance in Motion
right: Kim Crowley, Strength & Conditioning

Once again, Parkinson’s Fitness instructors Dianna Daly (Balance in Motion) and Kim Crowley (Strength & Conditioning), joined by class substitute Sally Zagnoli, had EVERYONE moving and stretching to the lively music they’d chosen to showcase how even five minutes of movement a day can “wake up” anyone’s body! Click here to read more about our instructors and again here for weekly class locations and times in six nearby communities.

We couldn’t provide these educational symposiums without the support of our generous sponsors, participation by willing and wonderful speakers and their, as well as other, dedicated organizations who are helping to create the best possible life-management and healthy-living programs for all who live with Parkinson’s.


Ending with the words of online Parkinson’s News Today columnist and fellow Parkinsonian, Sherri Woodbridge, author of Journeying through Parkinson’s Disease:

  “…Hope brings purpose back into view. It shuts out the “what-ifs” and turns down the dial of doubt. It disables the feelings of despair, enables you to have a confident expectation of a cure, finds the blessings in the curse, and faith for a brighter future.”



If you’re old enough, you may remember the catchy rhythm in Frank Sinatra’s daughter Nancy’s recording of These Boots Are Made For Walkin’. We’ve used that song in some of our exercise classes to showcase how humming or singing while practicing certain movements can actually improve the effort being made. Music can reach parts of the brain that control how the body responds to rhythm and actually improve not only speech volume, swallowing and breath control, but also unsteadying gait challenges caused by Parkinson’s.

Read more from this interesting article posted on line by Parkinson’s News Today. Then, see if you remember these lyrics and apply them to the fight against Parkinson’s: “These boots are made for walkin’ and that’s just what they’ll do. One of these days, these boots are gonna walk all over YOU.” 


Surgeries requiring general anesthesia pose complicated risks for anyone. For people with neurologic disorders such as Parkinson’s, the potential risk of postoperative issues rises. Fortunately – while understandably unsettling to read certain medical information – it is far more important to have as much prior education as possible about the side effects of general anesthesia should surgery and hospitalization afterward become necessary.

We encourage you to read, save and share the important information about undergoing general anesthesia presented in this article from the August/September issue of Brain and Life Magazine. This is a subject that should be discussed with your medical team: general practitioner, surgeon, and neurologist. Click here for the full article




“Healthcare providers say that hallmark signs of nOH, including dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, and feeling faint after standing, can occur at any stage of Parkinson’s disease. People may believe that their nOH symptoms are part of their Parkinson’s and something they have to learn to live with. It’s only once a healthcare provider connects the symptoms of being lightheaded or faint after standing to a drop in blood pressure that an nOH diagnosis may be possible.” (

Keith and Linda Hall’s lives are affected by Keith’s nOH symptoms. Read here about what’s happened to them and what steps they’ve taken to live with a difficult but manageable diagnosis.

Lifestyle changes for Keith and others include:*
Drinking more water
Adjusting the amount of salt in your diet
Avoiding carbohydrate-heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol
Wearing compression stockings or an abdominal binder
Elevating the head of your bed
Slowly rising when standing
Using caution when walking or changing positions if you feel dizzy
Getting regular exercise
(*Ask your healthcare provider for guidelines and advice on lifestyle modifications that would work best for you.)

An upcoming online program can be accessed through the following website, and we encourage you to take the time to register and view it!



“Communication, is not a singular process, and a spouse or other significant other often has to be invited into a treatment visit to help them better understand how their own communication style or behaviors may support or limit the progress of their loved ones. …Having a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or a related diagnosis can sometimes take a toll on relationships. …If speech and hearing problems are not addressed, talking to one’s spouse, which may have been a pleasurable and  emotionally fulfilling part of a couple’s relationship, may gradually disappear and become another burden associated with the disease.” –Mary Spremulli, MA, CCC-SLP

Read more here from Voice Aerobics about communication and swallowing disorders. “Licensed speech-language pathologists and audiologists are eager to help people communicate effectively across the lifespan. Take advantage of their help!” Mary Spremulli


Zebra Fish

Excerpting from a June 19, 2019 Parkinson’s News Today article by Catarina Silva: According to a study of zebra fish, not getting enough sleep may cause memory defects and emotional changes due to changes in dopamine metabolism. (Sleep Deprivation Caused Memory Defects and Emotional Changes in a Rotenone-based Zebra fish Model of Parkinson’s Disease”, published in Behavioural Brain Research.)

Researchers wrote: “In addition to cognitive and emotional disorders, sleep abnormalities are also prevalent in Parkinson’s disease. The problem of sleep is not only the characteristics of the disease itself, but also related to medication and dyskinesia such as tremor and rigidity.”

Sleep is an essential physiological process, and lack or shortage of sleep time causes fatigue, increase of mood swings, and can affect learning and memory. Some studies have shown that sleep deprivation can result in emotional and cognitive impairments.

A team of Chinese researchers investigated the effects of sleep deprivation on locomotor activity, memory and emotional behavior in a zebrafish model of Parkinson’s disease. To understand how tiny fish are helping with research for a cure, read more here

1 2