Beyond the Pill Box for Parkinson’s Disease

APRIL 23, 2018

What do art, boxing and meditation have in common?

They’re all activities offered through the BIDMC’s Wellness Works program for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

“Many people think of PD as a ‘motor’ disease that primarily affects the ability to move,” says David Simon, MD, PhD, Director of the Movement Disorders Division in BIDMC’s Department of Neurology. “But actually, PD is a very complex neurological disease that typically includes changes in cognition and mood as well. Although we have medications that can help some of the symptoms, this is only one part of the treatment plan.”

“Managing PD goes beyond the pill box,” adds Lissa Kapust, LICSW, Wellness Coordinator for BIDMC’s Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center. “Our Wellness Works program offers something for everyone.”

Calling All Artists

This free networking group began as an opportunity for patients to discuss how they continue to express their creativity while managing PD. Before long, it became a platform for showcasing talents and performances.

“We have painters, potters, musicians, songwriters and photographers,” Kapust says. “There’s no limit to the inspiring amount of creativity that flows through the room during this program.”

Tai Chi, Bootcamp and Yoga Classes

Weekly exercise classes are offered at BIDMC. Whether you’re interested in improving balance, flexibility or strength, there’s something for everyone.

“You go at your own pace,” Kapust says. “All levels of experience are welcome at our fitness classes.”

Meditation Sessions

“There are many evidenced-based studies that show the benefits of mindfulness and meditation for managing illness and improving mood,” Kapust says. Together, Kapust and Tsering Yodsampa, a Buddhist chaplain at BIDMC, lead a weekly meditation session for patients with PD that’s designed to offer mindfulness, tranquility and relaxation.

Rock Steady Boxing

This high-intensity class focused on agility, balance and coordination is offered at Nonantum Boxing Club in Newton. Watch this video to learn more.

Putting and Driving: PD Golf

This three-session golf program is designed to provide a non-competitive outing for golfers with PD. “Putting and driving help with balance, coordination and strength, and it’s a great way to enjoy being outdoors,” Kapust says. Spring classes begin in May at the Braintree Municipal Golf Course.

Special Events

An Evening For Women

At this event, Kapust will lead a discussion on how living with PD impacts women’s health issues, relationships and more. A guest speaker will talk about the value of stretching and massage for women with PD.

Wednesday, May 9, 5:50-7 p.m.
Kirstein Living Room, BIDMC East Campus

Summer 2018 Events with the JCC

BIDMC partners with the JCC of Greater Boston to offer a family support group and exercise classes for people in the community. View this flyer to learn more.

HMS Fall Symposium

Each year BIDMC and Harvard Medical School host a free educational symposium for people with PD, their families and caregivers. This year, the symposium will focus on the arts. In addition to lectures regarding music therapy and the impact of music on the brain, there will be brief presentations by various artists with PD about their work.

Save the Date: Saturday, Oct. 20

For additional info about these programs, please call 617-667-5215.

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