Regional Chapters and Support Groups
Chapters and Support Groups are formed to provide local support for those in the area for those living with Parkinson’s. A group's guiding principles are trust, acceptance, respect and compassion.
Why Join a Support Group?
Maintaining a Support Group
Contact a Group Near You
Interested in Starting a New Group?
Joining a Support Group?
- Purpose of a Support Group: A support group is an effective tool for enhancing your ability to cope with a challenge like Parkinson's. In general, our groups are made up of people living with Parkinson's, their family members and other caregivers. A support group can be a place where ideas for coping with Parkinson's are exchanged and ideas are shared. It is not a replacement for medical attention or advice. Members are cautioned against recommending specific medications, discussing dosages or other medical advice.
The groups are not intended as therapy groups, even though there are times when a member needs to vent their frustrations. In general, the groups are upbeat, with the goal of sharing anecdotes, resource information and good humour. Speakers on a variety of topic are common.
- Self-Help Model: Our groups operate on the self help model with a volunteer facilitator. The facilitator is often a person who has been a group member for a time and has agreed to take on a leadership role. In many groups, the facilitator shares the role with two or three other people who work as a team. All group members are strongly encouraged to get involved with the running of their group.
Our Support groups are self sufficient in terms of their expenses. You may be asked to donate a dollar or two each month to cover room rental (if applicable), coffee and photocopying, etc. Groups usually elect a treasurer to keep track of the group's funds.
- The Challenge of Joining: Some find the idea of joining a support group challenging, particularily those that are newly diagnosed or those with Young Onset Parkinson's (where diagnosis occurs before the age of 50). Many of our groups have members who have had Parkinson's for 10 or more years, with advanced symptoms. Some people choose to not attend a group out of fear of seeing what might be in their own future. If this is your concern, consider the following:
- Parkinson's is a unique experience for each person. Factors such as the effectiveness of medication, and the type and severity of the symptoms will differ from person to person.
- Overall heatlh, age, and the existence of other conditions can affect a person's strength and ability to cope with Parkinson's.
- Age of onset can make a difference. Those diagnosed before 55 may experience a slower progression of Parkinson's, but there may also have a more difficult time with medication side effects.
- The ability to exercise and stay active can play a primary role in your ability to cope with Parkinson's.
- People with adequate support may cope more effectively than a person living in isolation.
Maintaining a Support Group
For tips, strategies and ideas for starting and maintining a support group. Download our Support Group Facilitator Manual
For information on where and when our groups meet, contact the appropriate number below. Membership is free, and all are encouraged to attend.
||Prince Edward Island
Halifax Area Caregivers
Maritime Young Onset Group
Starting a New Group
If you notice that your area does not have a support group of its own, or would benefit from having an additional group (eg. Young Onset, Caregivers, etc) please give our office a call, 1-800-663-2468, and we would be happy to assist you in getting things started!