More Events for Family Caregivers

Caring for our Caregivers luncheon

I’m writing this on Thursday morning, looking out at snow! In mid-November? Our aquatic class is canceled today because Fairfax County schools are closed, so I’m taking this opportunity to try to remember everything I wanted to share with you about what’s been happening this week.

Caring for our Caregivers luncheon 2018Caring for our Caregivers
PSN’s first caregiver appreciation luncheon was special to both the caregivers as well as family members who visited in the room next door to the luncheon. The set up was perfect! Caregivers were able to relax knowing that their loved ones were nearby and being cared for.

I learned from Angela about how much effort and time goes into organizing a panel discussion to make it professional and memorable, not just for the audience but for the panel members as well. The topic, Self-care Means giving Yourself Permission to Pause, is something that is often written and talked about but this time it was more meaningful, because of how the panel shared their personal stories and feelings. Thank you all! Angela (Moderator), Arlene, Carol and Karen.

Meanwhile, next door, Karl led a discussion where fellow Parkies learned new and interesting things about each other. The group listened to music during lunch, and afterwards they explored their creativity with a project guided by Sue Ann Hastings, an art therapist who donated her time and art materials. Sue Ann chose an activity that she hoped would be relaxing for the participants – just another example of the care that went into planning this event. Thank you to Karl and Sue Ann, for all the smiles I saw on people’s faces, and making this event special for our friends with Parkinson’s as well.

My sincere gratitude to the volunteers and PSN board members who all worked together to make this event so special. This event was organized by caregivers, for caregivers, and the love and care that went into it was noticeable and appreciated by all who attended.
Amy Coppa
A BIG thank you to Amy Coppa from 5 Star Home Health Care for her HUGE help in getting this event off the ground, providing ALL the refreshments (including donuts!), goodie bags, door prizes and more. Amy’s daughter, Anna, who is a professional caregiver with 5 Star, also helped our friends with Parkinson’s who appreciated her kindness.

More special thank yous to Christi Clark and Lindsey Vajpeyi for hosting us at Insight Memory Care Center and giving up their Saturday to be there for us. We are very grateful for their constant encouragement and support. Look for a comment by Lindsey in the November 2018 issue of the AARP Bulletin, in the section on page 44, Celebrations of Caregiving. Click here to check out Insight’s events calendar for details about their classes, workshops, support groups, and social events.

Caregiver luncheon door prizesWe finished the luncheon by giving out door prizes with people swapping prizes so that everyone went home happy. Thank you to everyone who contributed door prizes! There was lots of wine, and several certificates for being pampered. More wine, books by the Robbs, gift cards, and coffee & tea with accoutrements. Everyone also received a Parkinson’s Awareness Resource Kit (PARKit) with information about living well with Parkinson’s as well as local resources.

Northern Virginia Dementia Care Conference
We saw quite a few of our Parkinson Social Network friends at this conference on Monday. Kim Campbell, wife of Glen Campbell, was the keynote speaker and she’s a wonderful story teller. Kim has a website,, where you can read her blog, and learn more about “I’ll Be Me”, a movie they made of their final tour after Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I saw it a few years ago and it’s a beautiful movie. The family come together to “navigate the wildly unpredictable nature of Glen’s progressing disease using love, laughter and music as their medicine of choice.” Many of you may relate because I often hear people say how helpful it is to have a sense of humor when you’re living with Parkinson’s.

Parkinson Social Network was an exhibitor at this conference as we have been two previous years, sharing information about PSN, as well as Parkinson’s and caregiving. We were able to answer a variety of questions and refer people to other local resources who were represented at the conference. I’m following up on a couple of others as well.

Just for fun, and kind of on the spur of the moment, we went bowling on Wednesday afternoon. We had a good time and even had our own cheer team! No pompoms this time, but we can work on that. We learned a couple of things:
* that it’s important to take your meds on time because it can affect your game if you’re having so much fun that you forget to take them until afterwards, and
* sometimes you can bowl a better game if you change your name by bowling for someone else.
We also had fun helping one of our friends to celebrate his birthday. He was bowling with his grandfather’s bowling ball – a special way to honor him.

I want to send a special shout out and thank you to the kind folk at Bowl America Burke for all their help so that we could have such an enjoyable time.

2018 Parkinson’s Foundation Caregiver Summit | Cumbre Para Cuidadores
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Caregiver Summit Program: click HERE | Presenters List: click HERE
Who Should Attend Anyone caring for someone living with PD, such as a spouse, partner, child or friend.
How to participate from personal computer, tablet, or smart phone
Register Now: in English or Spanish
More information
** Parkinson’s Foundation is one of the national organizations. We share details about their Aware in Care hospital kit, and other printed information at our events and on our website.

Blue Christmas Service
Sunday, December 9, 3:00 pm
At: Katie’s Coffee House Village Center
260 Walker Road, Great Falls
A non-traditional service of remembrance and hope for those who are stressed, lonely, or grieving.
All are welcome. Dress is casual.
For more information contact: Rev. Tracey Kelly –

This service can provide comfort and solace for people who might find the holidays a difficult time. In previous years, people who attended could light candles in memory of loved ones, and the service included periods of silence to allow for peaceful reflection.

With your support we can do more!
We are excited that we can offer social events like our cafes, caregiver appreciation luncheon, and bowling. Your smiles are so encouraging! With your help we can continue to grow, and develop more programs for you, your family, and friends. There is so much that we can learn from each other about making the most of life with Parkinson’s. Thank you for your support!
Donate to Parkinson Social Network

Hoping to see you out and about soon! We’ll be at Cafe Alexandria on Monday and Cafe Fairfax on Wednesday!


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