FREWSBURG Parkinson's Disease may be life-changing, but it doesn't have to be life-ending.
This was the message which was delivered recently at a seminar on management of Parkinson's Disease at the Frewsburg Rest Home for Adults.
According to Dennis Bechmann, Frewsburg Rest Home for Adults administrator, the recent presentation was the result of nearly two years of work with BOCES.
To give the presentation, the home welcomed Paul Robbins, who graduated with his baccalaureate from the University of Notre Dame and is currently working on a Masters degree in Public Health through George Washington University.
To begin his seminar, Robbins outlined several symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. Symptoms of the disease may include, but are not limited to: slowness of movement, stiffness of movement, involuntary shaking, tendency to fall, depression, anxiety, irritability, constipation and early satiety, loss of sense of smell, insomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness, active dreaming, speech and swallowing problem and drooling due to slowed swallowing.
"There is no cure to the disease," said Robbins. "It forces you to change the way you live your life, but it's important to remember that you can still have a high standard of living with the disease; it does not shorten your life expectancy."
Robbins also touched upon the challenges that those tasked with taking care of loved ones with Parkinson's Disease could face.
"With Parkinson's comes changes with regard to the roles people play in relationships," said Robbins. "If the person who used to be the primary caregiver in a relationship comes down with Parkinson's, then there's going to be some shifting in roles. ... It is important as a caregiver to always be prepared for the future. As a caregiver of someone who has Parkinson's, you're going to be taking care of them for the next five to 10 to 25 years. Just remember it is important to take care of your own health, as well, when you are taking care of someone with Parkinson's Disease. If you become ill due to stress, you'll be hurting both you and your loved one with Parkinson's. Always remember to continue to take care of your own health when you are caring for a loved one with Parkinson's."
Robbins provided a handout for those in attendance that listed resources available in the area for people with Parkinson's.
While those who are looking for professional opinions about their Parkinson's Disease may contact Jim Fischer with the Westfield Memorial Center at 793-2112, there are also several Parkinson's support groups which meet locally for those who are seeking emotional support. Those support groups are as followed:
Westfield Memorial Hospital, 189 E. Main Street, Westfield, N.Y. First Thursday of month at 6:30 p.m.
St. Lukes Episcopal Church, 410 N. Main Street, Jamestown, N.Y. First Wednesday of month at 6:30 p.m.
Chautauqua County Home, 10836 Temple Road, Dunkirk, N.Y. First Wednesday of month at 10 a.m.
Absolut at Westfield, 26 Cass Street, Westfield, N.Y. Second Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m.
Finally, to conclude the seminar, Bechmann handed out certificates of recognition to those in attendance for their participation in the seminar.
Bechmann has said he would like to cooperate with BOCES again in the future to offer similar seminars to those staying at the home for adults.