Exercise Classes, Emotional Support, and More for Parkinson’s Patients in the Greensboro Area

Parkinson's patients at dance classPatients and families living with Parkinson’s disease in the Greensboro area have a wide range of support services through the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program organized by Cone Health and LeBauer HealthCare. 

“Cone Health, with the help of a number of partners, has put together a very comprehensive support program for a community of our size,” says Jessica Thomas, MSW, LCSW, a social worker who is based at LeBauer Neurology. Jessica works with Parkinson’s patients and families throughout the greater Greensboro area. 

The Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Program includes a variety of exercise classes, support groups, and art classes that are described later in this article. Patients and families are also able to meet with Thomas to discuss ways to cope with a movement disorder diagnosis and resources to help them live well with the challenges they face. 

Keep reading to discover areas where patients can take control to manage symptoms and to get an overview of the classes and resources offered through Cone Health. 

 

4 Areas Patients Can Control

While there is not a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, there are four areas patients can take control in order to better manage symptoms and build social-emotional resilience, according to Thomas. 

1. Medication Compliance

With Parkinson’s Disease, the brain cells that make dopamine, a chemical that helps control movement, stop working. Parkinson’s medications can provide more dopamine or substances that mimic dopamine. 

For the best control of movement, patients need to take medications every day on a regular schedule. Neurologists understand how these medications work and which medication combinations and dosages can be the most effective for individual patient symptoms. Following your doctor’s exact medication instructions can help you move better and feel better. 

2. Exercise

Exercising helps produce dopamine. That’s one reason regular exercise is so beneficial to Parkinson’s patients. Exercise also improves strength and balance, and some studies have linked exercise to possibly preventing or slowing the progression of Parkinson’s. There have also been studies showing that exercise can improve cognition in patients with Parkinson’s, according to an article published by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

3. Social-Emotional Support

Connecting with others who can understand your day-to-day frustrations can be therapeutic for patients and caregivers. Joining a support group or even an exercise class designed for Parkinson’s patients is a great way to make those connections. 

4. Socialization

With movement disorder symptoms sometimes making it difficult or awkward to interact in public spaces, patients may be tempted to isolate themselves. However, becoming engaged with activities and other people is one way to fight off the depression and stress that can come with the disease. 

A group of senior men and women are outdoors in a park. They are doing exercise with lights dumbbells.

Resources Through the Cone Health Movement Disorders Program

Here are the classes, groups, and resources that are available through the Cone Health Movement Disorders program. These resources are open to all area Parkinson’s patients, not just patients of LeBauer HealthCare. 

Many of these resources are free to patients and families. Some of the exercise classes have a fee associated with the class. 

Exercise Classes

Learn more about any of the classes listed below.

    • PWR! Moves Parkinson’s Disease Exercise Class – This 8-week, therapist-led exercise program promotes healthy exercise habits in order to slow the effects of Parkinson’s disease.
    • PWR! Moves Circuit Exercise Class for Parkinson’s DiseaseAn 8-week circuit exercise class that focuses on functional strength training, agility, improved posture, and more.
    • Rock Steady Boxing – Rock Steady Boxing enables people with Parkinson’s disease to fight their disease by providing non-contact, boxing-style fitness programs that improve their quality of life and sense of efficacy and self-worth. Programs are offered in Greensboro, Archdale, and Burlington.
    • Cycling – A cycling class for Parkinson’s patients is held at the Ragsdale Family YMCA in Jamestown, NC. Patients need a referral but do not need to be a YMCA member. 

Support Groups

Learn more about any of the support groups listed below

    • Power of Parkinson’s Community Group – This monthly support group is designed to help patients learn how to proactively take control of managing Parkinson’s disease. 
    • Parkinson’s Caregiver Group – This group provides a safe place for caregivers to share challenges and learn about resources and coping skills.
    • Atypical Parkinsonian Group – This is one of two support groups in the state of North Carolina for patients with diseases that have symptoms similar to Parkinson’s: progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, and multiple system atrophy.

Social Worker

Jessica Thomas, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker who has more than 13 years of experience working with patients who have neurological disorders. She is available to meet with any Parkinson’s or other movement disorders patient who has a doctor in the Cone Health network. She helps patients and families connect with resources, find ways around barriers, and develop strategies and tools for living with Parkinson’s or other movement disorders.

Classes in the Arts

Classes in music, dance, drama, and improv classes are being offered to patients as a way to improve symptoms and help patients engage socially, cognitively, and creatively. The classes have proved so popular that they are already full for the year, but the program plans to offer new arts classes later in 2020. 

 

Connect with Support and Resources

If you would like more information about how to connect with resources and support for patients and families, contact jessica.thomas3@conehealth.com or call (336) 832-3060. 

You can also get the expertise of a board-certified neurologist through LeBauer Neurology. To request a neurology appointment, talk to your primary care physician, call us at (336) 832-3070, or complete our online request form

Download our Movement Disorders Infographic

If you would like to learn more about movement disorders, including symptoms and an overview of treatment options, download our Movement Disorders Infographic.

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