Summer Parkinson’s Event Brings Wellness to Patients and Families


Amy Lemen, LCSW and members of the Fresco Institute team present at the summer Parkinson’s Wellness event

In July, the Fresco Institute hosted its annual summer Parkinson’s event connecting Parkinson’s patients and families with wellness resources, in partnership with the Edmond J. Safra Parkinson’s Wellness Program-NYC. Held at JCC Manhattan, the event included both a Parkinson’s Pilates Party and an Interdisciplinary Team Q&A featuring a panel of Fresco Institute experts.

Deanna Rayment, LMSW, program coordinator at the Fresco Institute, kicked off the event with “Getting to Know You BINGO,” in which attendees had to fill up their BINGO boards by finding other people in the room with certain characteristics or talents such as “Knows a Magic Trick,” or “Plays an Instrument.” The winner was treated to a free three-month gym membership at JCC Manhattan to enhance their Parkinson’s wellness plan.

Pilates for Parkinson’s Instructor Hallee Altman then led the 100 attendees—people with Parkinson’s, their families and friends, and staff members from the Fresco Institute and JCC Manhattan—in a seated and standing Pilates session, which included exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and posture. “People living with Parkinson’s are dealing with constant changes in their bodies,” said Altman. “The need for stretching, strengthening, and core work is paramount. Most of the strengthening or stretching exercises recommended for people living with Parkinson’s can be found within the Pilates Method.”

Following Pilates, attendees cooled down with water and healthy snacks, and had the opportunity to ask the Fresco Institute’s panel of experts pressing questions about Parkinson's and wellness. The Q&A session featured: Pilates for Parkinson’s instructor Hallee Altman; Parkinson’s Nurse Practitioner Tara Biller, MSN, FNP-BC; Movement Disorders Specialist Rebecca Gilbert, MD, PhD; NYU Langone Rusk Institute Occupational Therapist Daniece Loomis, MS, OTR/L; and Parkinson’s Social Worker Meghan Sweeney, LMSW. Attendees raised a variety of Parkinson’s-related topics, including nutrition, medications, and how to tell others about their Parkinson’s diagnosis.

“The doctors and support team during the Q&A were concise and informative, and the topics were provocative,” said Joan Karron Foley, who attended the event with her husband, Frank. “And the best part of the event was meeting the partners of several of my new Parkinson’s Wellness Program friends. It was a really great night of information, along with a bit of socializing.”

The Edmond J. Safra Parkinson’s Wellness Program-NYC was founded in 2007 as a unique, medically connected, community-based partnership between the Fresco Institute and JCC Manhattan. The program provides high-quality, specialized exercise, support, and education opportunities for individuals, care partners, and families living with Parkinson’s. Since its inception, the program has grown to include exercise classes five days a week, with two support groups and periodic education and socialization events. The program has expanded to locations throughout the United States as the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative, a partnership between the Fresco Institute, the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF), and JCC Manhattan.

For more information about the Fresco Institute’s programs for patients and families, click here.

2016-10-07 16:37