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Council on Aging

Posted on: August 5, 2021

Emerson Hospital Free Parkinson's Disease Programs

Emerson Hospital's Parkinson’s Program is pleased to offer the below free online wellness programs for patients and caregivers. These programs are supported by a community grant from the Parkinson’s Foundation. Each program will be 8 weeks in length and held virtually. Space is limited for each program, so if you are unable to sign up for our first session, please do not worry as we will be offering each program four more times during the year. Participants may only take a specific free program once.
 
Available Programs:
Dance for PD: Tuesdays 11 am – 12 pm, August 10 – October 5
The internationally-acclaimed, research-backed Dance for PD program, founded in 2001, offers specialized dance classes to people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers in more than 300 communities around the world. Students experience the joys and benefits of dance while creatively addressing symptom-specific concerns related to balance, cognition, motor skill, depression and physical confidence. The program uses dance to empower students to explore movement and music in ways that are refreshing, enjoyable, stimulating and creative. A recent study in the journal Brain Sciences shows that participation in a weekly Dance for PD class effectively slowed both motor and non-motor Parkinson's symptoms over a period of three years.
Classes are taught by professionally-trained dancers who are movement experts with knowledge about balance, sequencing, rhythm and aesthetic awareness that is useful to people with PD. Movement variety includes modern, ballet, tap, folkloric, traditional social dance, yoga, martial arts, improvisation and choreographic repertory to engage a participant’s mind and body and create an enjoyable, social environment for artistic exploration. Dance for PD has been featured in The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, NBC, and other major networks. Susanne Liebich, a teaching artist and the first certified Dance for PD teacher in Massachusetts, has conducted dance classes for the Steinberg Wellness Center for 10 years.
 
Circuit Training for People with Parkinson’s: Fridays 11 am – 12 pm, August 13 – October 1
Led by a licensed physical therapist, this circuit class will focus on amplitude-based exercises to address functional skills that are often impacted by Parkinson’s, including posture, flexibility, strength and balance. The class will start in sitting position and progress to various positions incorporating concepts from LSVT Big and PWR! (Parkinson Wellness Recovery), as well as cardiovascular training. Modifications to each movement will be provided to challenge all participates safely. Partners are encouraged to join in the fun.
 
Introduction to SPEAK OUT! And LOUD Crowd: Fridays 10 am – 10:50 am, August 20 – October 8
In this 8-week course, we will meet every Friday morning for 50 minutes. Participants will learn speech therapy methods following the SPEAK OUT! model developed by Parkinson Voice Project. We will practice these methods as a group in a virtual format via Zoom. In addition to drill work, we will also get to know each other and practice speaking with intent in structured conversation. Some meetings will include education about Parkinson's disease-related topics. Participants will be encouraged to speak to their physicians about a referral for individualized speech therapy before, during or after this course.
 
To learn more about our free programs, including instructor bios, and to register for our first 8-week session, please visit us at www.emersonhospital.org/parkinsonsclasses.

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