Complications from Parkinson’s disease is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States according to the CDC.
With a high rate of patients dealing with the disease in South Dakota, a local retirement community is hoping to help.
Cathy Nelson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease about 12 years ago. It all started when her daughter noticed a change in her.
“She said mom you walk strange. I said strange? Well I can’t understand it. She said walk for me and that’s when we noticed it,” Nelson said.
“We know that by the year 2030 there’s going to be 1.2 million people with Parkinson’s disease and so we want to take a proactive approach to helping our residents and their families navigate through their disease process successfully,” Vice President of clinical operations at Touchmark Wendy Schrag said.
Schrag says South Dakota has a higher rate of Parkinson’s patients.
She says that’s due to something called the ‘green belt’.
“We see some higher numbers of Parkinson’s diagnosis primarily because some of our residents were farmers and they dealt with pesticides,” Schrag said.
In an effort to help residents, Touchmark partnered with Struthers Care Network out of Minnesota to begin the process of helping residents with their disease.
“The key is really staff training. It’s being aware of what Parkinson’s is and being able to help those residents,” Schrag said.
That help involves paying close attention to resident’s medication and diet, as well as establishing Parkinson’s specific exercise classes.
Schrag says both residents as well as non-residents will have the opportunity to take the classes.
“They can come in they can take these classes and they can really be an advocate for themselves for slowing the progression of the disease,” Schrag said.
Although Nelson says it’s not always easy getting around, she makes time to exercise 5 times a week and plans to test out the Parkinson’s specific classes once they become available.
“I’m excited about that. Any kind of help we can get and slowing down the progress,” Nelson said.
Touchmark will be hosting educational lunch and learns in the coming weeks to help people learn more about the upcoming Parkinson’s exercise classes.
The dates are:
February 2nd, February 20th, March 6th, March 20th
Call 605-610-0632 for more information.