While there are a number of support groups for people living with Parkinson’s in the Northern Virginia area, there often isn’t much time during the meetings to just relax and get to know each other. We know, too, that many people aren’t comfortable attending support group meetings for any number of reasons. So where can people living with Parkinson’s go to meet other people dealing with the same issues in a relaxed and informal setting?
The Parkinson Social Network was inspired by the Memory Café concept – a social gathering in a safe and supportive environment for people living with memory loss as well as their friends and family.
We are establishing cafés throughout Northern Virginia, to provide relaxed and supportive environments for people living with Parkinsons, as well as other related movement disorders such as Lewy Body Dementia, together with their friends and family. At our cafés, you’ll have the opportunity to relax and chat with old friends, and meet new ones. Enjoy a cup of coffee and delicious food – you’re welcome to bring some munchies to share! We have a different theme each month, largely touching on topics that affect our lives in ways other than as a patient.
With a chronic illness like Parkinson’s, it’s easy to feel alone so we hope that you’ll join us and meet other people who understand what it’s like dealing with the same issues you are.
The Parkinson Social Network was founded by Sonia Gow, an experienced patient advocate for people living with Parkinson’s and their carepartners. She has volunteered with the Fair Oaks Parkinson’s support group since 2007, coordinating communications and acting as a community resource by networking with other allied professionals and researching how to make the most of life with Parkinson’s.
Sonia is also a fitness professional who leads the only aquatic exercise class exclusively for people living with Parkinson’s in the Washington D.C. metro area. Known as Flamingos in Training, it is a functional exercise program designed to improve balance and includes activities that encourage standing tall, moving confidently, speaking up loud enough to be heard, and maintaining a keen mind.