April 1, 2014 | by Darcy Blake | Our friend Barbie wants to start a support group in Baltimore and she wonders how to do it. Our group, Parkinson’s Women Support is in California, but the road map is pretty much the same, wherever you are. You can do it, once you get the gist of starting a group.
- Take a look at what support groups are in your area first. Maybe there is a group already in existence. Look up some groups, find out when their next meeting is and take a peek under the hood. Are they fun? A group you want to hang out with? You’re in luck! Attend and see how it goes.
- Maybe you’ve looked, and the groups you’ve met are kinda down-in-the-dumps. A little too much complaining and not enough spunk! This isn’t a fun way to spend your time! Start thinking about forming a group of your own.
- We suggest chatting with a doctor treating Parkinson’s Disease who has some get-up-and-go. He/she might introduce you to a like-minded patient or two who are looking to maintain the joy and laughter that life can bring, even with a chronic disease. Our esteemed friend is Dr. Melanie Bradabur at the Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale. Dr. B introduced us and and we began seeing each other once a month for lunch. Recommendation: keep the meetings fun such as just lunch. Don’t pack in too much agenda, and too much serious organization. People will want to return if you are fun!
- Think up ways to attract other people with PD, perhaps with some flyers to other local support groups, and medical centers dealing with PD. Keep communication with your referring doctor to keep your progress alive, and watch your group grow and grow.
- Meanwhile, now you need to scurry and set up a Facebook page for daily sharing of news and events. Find someone to make the lunch/outing reservations for your friends, and va va voom! You’ve got a support group. Last thing, “like” Parkinson’s Women Support, and we’ll be sure to “like” you back on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Parkinsons-Women-Support/121474951248509?ref=hl We’ll even post about you! The more, the merrier!
Links to check first for groups in your area (these are for Baltimore, since Barbie lives there):
University of Maryland Medical Center
National Parkinson’s Foundation
American Parkinson Disease Association
About Parkinson’s Women Support
The mission of Parkinson’s Women Support is to offer moral support, encouragement and camaraderie for women who are either Parkinson’s Disease patients or caregivers. Check out our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonswomen