A note from Laurie | March 2020

Dear Facilitators,

March blew in with some unexpected changes and health concerns for all of us, and we are adjusting our lives and doing our best to stay well. I know all of you are hoping, as we are, that this time of uncertainty will pass quickly and we can look forward to returning to our regular schedules, including joining our support and exercise group friends again soon. In the meantime, take advantage of those days when temperatures warm a bit to get outside in the safety of a quiet backyard, or take a short drive in the country to break out of the isolation we can all feel from staying indoors for long periods.

It is imperative to keep moving, no matter how small the space! WPA understands the critical need for helping you to do just that, and we have provided a list HERE of many options for exercise and movement during this isolation period for COVID-19. Many of you are joining Mary Wood, our exercise coordinator, as her exercise classes are streamed live in a Facebook group (CLICK HERE to join). Please join her in staying active every day!

You can send these links out to your members in case they have not yet seen these wonderful new resources. If you have members with no computer or Facebook account, HERE is a sheet you could print and send out to keep them moving at home. Most importantly, stay connected – I know many if you are doing this already! Email one another, call one another, and for those of you who are tech savvy, try a video chat or Instant Message with your members who have this capability. It is important to check in with one another to assure all are well, but no matter what type of communication you use, reach out and let them know they are not alone and have support, even during isolation!

I have been so impressed with the wonderful topics you are sharing in your meetings and exercise groups, and especially in the interest many of you have had in bringing exercise to your communities. We know how important it is to manage Parkinson’s with exercise as a major component in the treatment plan, and it is wonderful to see so many of your members actively taking charge of their health by joining exercise programs. Whether it is through movement & music programs, boxing, PWR! programs, LSVT Big and Loud sessions, yoga, biking or other classes, it is so exciting to hear the stories about the difference exercise is making for so many!

As most of you are aware WPA has planned our 34th Annual Symposium in Appleton this year on June 19th, and we will be making the decision in the next few weeks regarding moving forward or postponing that event as well, depending on the progression of the COVID-19 threat and recommendations from our Governor and other health leaders. As we have done in years past, we will have a Facilitator Retreat the afternoon before our Symposium, regardless of the date, from 1-5pm. I am excited to share with you that based directly on feedback from last year’s Facilitator Retreat evaluation, conversations I have had with many of you during my visits, and evaluation forms from our educational events across the state, the topics we are lining up for you this year will provide you with some wonderful tools to take back to your group!

Here is a quick overview of topics and activities for that afternoon:

  1. Research and PD
  2. Resource Building Workshop:
    1. Speaker Resources
    2. Topic Lists and Resources
    3. Emergency Preparedness Plan Template
  3. Cognition and PD

Hope to see you soon – thank you for all you do!

-Laurie Couillard
Director of Group Engagement |