Education & Outreach

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s can be devastating, particularly when the doctor makes the point that it is a progressive and debilitating disease with no cure. Or worse still, the patient is told that medications will only be effective for a certain number of years. We’ve heard some dreadful stories of how patients were left feeling hopeless and in despair.

Without making light of the impact that Parkinson’s has on the body, mind, and spirit, our message is more hopeful. People can live a fulfilling and productive life. People living with Parkinson’s are making a difference to their own lives and to the lives of their fellow “Parkies” every day and in all sorts of ways, simply by sharing their experiences of life and what they’ve learned about how to live an active and engaged life.

Through our education programs and outreach events we provide information to answer the many questions people have on how to make the most of their lives beyond the usual focus on exercise and communication.

For Professionals

We’ve experienced first-hand how many professionals in long term care lack an understanding of the basics of Parkinson’s which in turn can affect the care for our friends with Parkinson’s. By being alert to issues such as the importance of taking medications in a timely manner, they can help people living with Parkinson’s to move with greater ease and experience a better quality of life. The timing of when medications are given can make such a difference to one’s day, as well as to one’s self-esteem and dignity.​

As part of our education programs we want the professional caregivers and allied professionals who you might have on your interdisciplinary team to have not only a solid understanding of what Parkinson’s disease is, but what life is like for someone who has been diagnosed. With this understanding these professionals can work with our friends on a higher level with humanity and compassion.

We provide in-service training for allied professionals; for example, companies that provide in-home care, assisted living communities, or rehabilitation centers.

For more information, please check out our Resource Center or contact us.


Along with our cafés, here are some of the other events where the Parkinson Social Network has been out and about.


Parkinson Support Group Visits | January 2019
PSN board members along with other experts spoke to local support groups on the topic of Prepare For Your Care: How to Go Home From Hospital in Better Shape Than When You Went In. They also visited the Women with Parkinson’s group support group meeting.

Fairfax 50+ Podcast | March 2019
For this Fairfax 50+ podcast, host Jim Person and Sonia Gow discussed the importance of Parkinson’s Awareness Month.
Click here to hear the podcast.

Parkinson Awareness Month  |  April 2019
In April 2019 we launched our new Side by Side support groups at Virginia Hospital Center’s Urgent Care Center on Carlin Springs Road, Arlington. A new kind of support group in Northern Virginia.
For those with Parkinson’s and those who care . . .

We could also be found at the Virginia Hospital Center out front of their cafeteria sharing information about PSN and living well with Parkinson’s. As in 2017, we also shared this information in the front lobby of the Inova Fair Oaks Hospital.

Sonia Gow spoke to the Loudoun Senior Interest Network on Understanding Life with Parkinson’s.

On April 11, World Parkinson Day, Parkinson Social Network board members Karl and Angela Robb were joined by Dr. Drew Falconer, Co-Director of the Inova Movement Disorders Program to speak about A Journey of Living Well with Parkinson’s. Karl shared his positive attitude about living with Parkinson’s and we learned about the latest medical advancements from Dr. Falconer.

Alec Langstein, well-known for his popular Rock Steady Boxing classes organized Pints for Parkinson’s at Tyson’s Biergarten on April 27 to raise funds for Parkinson Social Network. Thank you, Alec! And everyone who participated.


Parkinson Awareness Month | April 2018
This year we opened two new cafes to reach out to the Parkinson’s community in person. We also participated in bringing awareness through social media.

Fairfax 50+ Podcast | October 2018
Sonia Gow, founder and president of the Parkinson Social Network, and Carol Barrett, a member of the network whose husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2002, discuss what caregivers need to know about the disease including how to find services. They also discuss the unique role the Parkinson Social Network plays in helping people with the diagnosis and caregivers cope and support each other.
Tune in at Fairfax 50+ Podcast.

Northern Virginia Dementia Care Consortium | November 12, 2018
Exhibitor table.
PSN shared information about Parkinson’s disease and our organization.


Parkinson Awareness Month | April 2017
Parkinson Awareness Month in 2017 was special because Parkinson organizations around the world worked together to bring attention to the fact that Parkinson’s was first described 200 years ago.
PSN set up a table at our local Inova Fair Oaks Hospital on eight days throughout the month with information about Parkinson’s, local resources and services. We were joined by volunteers from several local support groups.

Walk the Walks, Winchester | April 22, 2017
Sonia Gow gave a presentation entitled “Patients are people too!”.
This event was organized by organized by Cheryl Reams, Coordinator for the Greater Winchester Area Parkinson’s Support Group. ​

Carewise Conference for Community Resources | April 25, 2017
We were an exhibitor at this event, sharing information about Parkinson’s disease and our organization.

Navigating the Caregiver Journey | October 7, 2017
Arlene Edwards, Treasurer of the Parkinson Social Network gave a presentation at one of their workshops, and
shared local resources and services with her audience.

Northern Virginia Positive Aging Fair | October 22, 2017
Exhibitor table.
PSN shared information about Parkinson’s disease and our organization.

Northern Virginia Dementia Care Consortium | November 10, 2017
Exhibitor table.
PSN shared information about Parkinson’s disease and our organization.

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