Home Instead Blog

1st International Parkinson’s Empowerment Summit
Oct 08, 2014

By Adele Chapman,                                                                             
Community Services Representative, Home Instead Senior Care, Leopardstown 

Last Friday, on behalf of Home Instead Senior Care,  I had the pleasure of attending  the 1st International Parkinson’s Empowerment Summit, organised by Move4Parkinsons, an organisation founded by the inspirational Margaret Mullarney.

As a Community Services Representative with Home Instead Senior Care, I meet many people living with Parkinson's who, in order to continue living independently in their own home, often request the help of  professional Home Instead CAREGivers. It is therefore important for me, as a care consultant and healthcare professional, to keep up to date with recent developments in Parkinson’s management and to be informed of the many support activities available for people living with this condition. For this reason, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to attend the Summit.

The Summit was held at the City West Hotel and was attended by healthcare professionals, people living with Parkinson’s, their family members, friends and caregivers. The stated aim of the day was 'to provide participants with the opportunity to meet others facing challenges similar to their own and to learn a range of techniques for effective self-management of Parkinson's.' The committee promised a day of learning, moving, singing and more and they certainly delivered.

Early in the day, we were introduced to the Move4Parkinsons 'five elements' guide to managing this condition. These include - medication awareness and medical support, nutrition, exercise, emotional wellbeing and optional treatments such as occupational, speech and complementary therapies. 

As the day progressed,  we heard from a number of excellent and inspirational speakers including Claire Henchcliffe, Director of the Weill Cornell Institute, Al Condeluci, CEO of CLASS,  Davis Phinney, founder of the Davis Phinney Foundation, Graham Hughes, Consultant Physician in Geriatric and General Medicine, St Vincent’s University Hospital and of course Mags Mullarney, founder of Move4Parkinsons. We were taught how to combine movement and breathing by John Dean, how to 'think like a dancer' by David Leventhal and how to ‘set dance’ by Pat O’Dea. I understand that all of the presentations are available on the move4parkinsons website and they are well worth seeking out.

However, for me, the highlight of the day was the performance of The Voices of Hope Choir, a choir for people with Parkinson’s, their family members and friends. During the robust rendition of  'Something Inside So Strong', many of the audience rose to their feet, formed a conga dance line holding onto each others shoulders or waists and snake danced around the room. The atmosphere was electric. By early afternoon the Summit had achieved its expressed goal of a 'robust day filled with community and connection'. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.

The afternoon included a range of 'breakout sessions' covering many interesting topics such as mindfulness and yoga, caregivers: how to empower yourself, fall prevention and more. It was difficult to choose.

In conclusion, this was most certainly a day full of learning, moving, singing and more and I felt privileged to have been there. 

Congratulations to all involved!

Check out additional resources from Home Instead Senior Care here.