How do we take care of ourselves?

Remember to take care of yourself. You can't pour from an empty cup.

What an amazing week this has been! Two cafes and a support group leader gathering. It was so much fun to catch up with people including some we haven’t seen in ages.

Cafe Alexandria
performing artsThis month we’re talking about how we look after ourselves. We learned that people like to get out and about and attend cultural events like theatre, ballet and opera. Through Fathom Events ( you can learn where events like these – from all over the world – are being shown at local movie theaters. Other options are local theatres with professional performances (in Alexandria, Arlington and Tysons Corner), dinner theatres, and music and theatre events at George Mason University Center for the arts ( The Smithsonian and National Geographic both offer lectures, cruises and other trips. Fairfax County Senior Centers (click here) offer lots of programs and services including classes and trips, as does the City of Alexandria! (click here)

Other suggestions were for cooking classes which led to talk about food, and how services like Meals on Wheels or Giant’s PeaPod can be helpful. Organizing one’s finances can bring peace of mind. Exercise was important as was therapy (physical, occupational, speech) that comes to your home. This was where we got to talking about bowling and decided to organize an bowling event! More details below. Most people agreed that taking time out to read a book and/or nap were special times. My favorite one was: to do little things that make you happy, like looking at family photos.

Cafe Fairfax
plate spinningWe talked some more about how to care for ourselves at our Cafe Fairfax, too. It was interesting to hear some of the same ideas like reading a book, but here we heard more about why this was helpful. The key is to be able to step away from thinking about all the things you think you could be doing – described as “plate-spinning”. Can you see yourself in this picture? Books to lose yourself in, or books by caregivers were recommended, in particular Janet Edmundson who will also send out weekly affirmations that connect with caregivers. For instance, here’s the affirmation on her website today: Hold on to your passions, because they are the essence of who you are. Click here to go to her website.

Some other ways people take care of themselves are to volunteer, or attend support groups and cafes like ours. Suggestions for interesting classes were at the JCC, Insight Memory Care Center (our hosts!), the Lifetime Learning Institute of Northern Virginia in Annandale, and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) out of George Mason University. Reston Community Center and the public libraries also have interesting speakers and events.

As you may have gathered, just getting out of the house was important to many of us, and I hope we’ve given you some new ideas to check out. We talked about transportation because of how difficult it is to get out when you can’t drive, or drive as far as you’d like to go. For instance, if you’d like to go to the beach, there are bus services that go from Washington to Virginia Beach. Fairfax County through it’s parks and recreation programs, as well as their senior centers, offer day and overnight trips. Another option for people who like to travel and learn is Road Scholar.

Exercise helped people to feel happier, as did alternative therapies like massage, reflexology, and light therapy. My favorite comment was how “doing stuff gives you ideas to do more stuff”! So excuse me while I check out how to do jigsaw puzzles online . . .

Support group leader gathering
October 2018 support group leader gatheringYesterday an amazing group of volunteer support group leaders gathered at the Woodlands Retirement Community for a lunch and learn. They came from around Northern Virginia and as far away as Winchester. We talked about the needs of each group, but it was hearing about the strengths that was so special. People spoke about how welcome they felt when they first attended a support group, and how they appreciated making connections and sharing experiences. Others described how much the compassion and friendships within their group meant to them, with some groups feeling like a second family. Each support group is different because the people who participate are different and I hope you found a group you feel comfortable with. If you’re looking for one, we’ve listed the groups that are led by volunteers in our area on our Support Group page.

Insight Memory Care Center’s – Paintings and Pairings
Just a reminder that Paintings and Pairings is next Thursday! For more details click here.

We’re going bowling!
we're going bowling!Just for the fun of it and the company. Oh, and we have a couple of birthdays we can celebrate!
Wednesday, November 14, 1:00 – 3:00 pm
At: Bowl America Burke
5615 Guinea Rd, Fairfax, VA 22032
If you don’t think you’re up to bowling but you want to practice your LOUD voice, just come and cheer us on!
Please, please, let me know if you plan to come because the bowling alley needs to know how many lanes to reserve for us. Please email me at

Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Take advantage of a free, convenient, confidential, and safe disposal of unused or expired medications during Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout on Saturday, October 27, 2018. Drop off medications at any of the eight Fairfax County District Police Stations (pills or liquids only, no pressurized canisters or needles) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Click here for more information on the Fairfax County website.

When you need assistance while traveling
Thank you Ruth Ann for sending me these resources! I’ve added them to our Traveling With Parkinson’s page on our website.

  • – is written by a passionate traveler who is a triple amputee tracks accessible travel destinations.
  • Accessible Journeys ( is a tour operator for people who use wheelchairs.
  • Sage Traveling ( is an accessible-tour operator for European travel for people with mobility issues.
  • Federal Aviation Administration ( provides a summary of rights for people with disabilities navigating airports and flying.
  • National Park Service ( offers an Access Pass, which provides discounts for those with permanent disabilities.
  • provides details on accessible destinations in Washington, D.C.
  • U.S. State Department ( provides a roundup of disability access in foreign countries.

Hoping to see you out and about soon! There’s our Cafe Ashburn on Wednesday, and Insight Memory Care Center’s Paintings and Pairings event on Thursday!


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