November 20, 2014

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Turns on the Carepartner Highway

Turns on the Carepartner Highway

by Angela Robb

My nineteen year journey as a young onset Parkinson’s disease carepartner has been full of joy, adventures, excitement, challenges and new experiences. When Parkinson’s disease (PD) entered my life, it was not a shock. I met my husband, Karl, post-diagnosis. I’ve never known Karl without Parkinson’s.

At this point, the progression of Parkinson’s is moving slowly with little impact on our lives. The most disruptive part of Parkinson’s at this moment is dealing with the unpredictability of the medications. Not knowing if the medications will work or not work, throughout the day, makes for an always shifting agenda. No plans are set in stone. Decisions are made on a moment by moment basis. During the day, I may say:

“Let’s wait 30 minutes and see if the pills kick in.”

“I’ll drop you off at the restaurant and go park the car.”

“No need to come with me. I’ll run into the store and grab the item we need.”

Being mindful is one of my tools to living in each moment with peace. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s key teaching is that through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment — the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world.

Mindfulness has not always been a part of my caregiving toolbox. I work on being mindful every day with varying levels of success. Of course, there are times where mindfulness flies out the window and anger flies in.

Renowned author and speaker on self-development and spiritual growth, Dr. Wayne Dyer says in his book, The Power of Intention:

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

I find this sentence to be profound. It makes me think differently: change my attitude, change my focus, change my mood, and even change my mindset! This phrase inspires me to set a tone for each moment of my day. I invoke this phrase to improve my own mental, emotional and physical self-care.

How do you view your life? Day? This moment? We all have choices. Do we become so consumed by our carepartner/caregiver responsibilities that we forget we have choices? Optimism can be a choice.

Although we may be unable to change today’s challenge, maybe we can choose to see things differently? Imagine using this phrase as a filter to view your life as a Parkinson’s disease carepartner/caregiver living with daily challenges. If you are always living in the future, you cannot be in the present. I’m not naive enough to think that optimism solves all the issues that PD carepartners/caregivers face.

Take time for yourself to give yourself care. Even the smallest change in your own care can bring you big benefits.

Angela Robb is a Parkinson’s disease (PD) carepartner and Reiki Master who shares and teaches the value of Reiki (ray-key) to the Parkinson’s community.

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November 18, 2014

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HDYO event in Richmond 12/5

Join HDYO on Friday, December 5th in Richmond for a night of bowling! Come out, bowl a few games, enjoy some food and meet the HDYO Youth Worker and learn about the services for young people impacted by Huntington’s Disease. When: Friday, December 5, 2014 Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Where: AMF Sunset Lanes […]

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November 17, 2014

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Special Report: Caregiver needs assessment study results

Special Report: Caregiver needs assessment study results by:  Sarah K. Lageman, PhD, ABPP-CN Neuropsychology Program Director VCU Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center VCU Parkinson’s & Movement Disorders Center (VCU PMDC) is committed to sharing results of our research projects with the community.  Understandably, this can take some time to collect and analyze the data.  Dr. […]

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October 23, 2014

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Resource Spotlight: Dr. Giroux Holistic Brain Health

Dr. Monique Giroux recently spoke at the annual Parkinson’s Community Education Day in Richmond, Virginia.  Dr. Giroux is the only movement disorders neurologist who is also fellowship trained in integrative medicine. She shared several great resources and tips during her presentation about integrative medicine and Parkinson’s disease, and encouraged patients to be a partner in […]

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October 20, 2014

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Speech study for Parkinson’s

Speech study for Parkinson’s in Richmond Volunteers are needed for a study looking to determine if repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a painless, non-surgical technique, can improve speech in people with Parkinson’s disease. This study is open to veterans and non-veterans and is being conducted at the Parkinson’s Disease Research Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC) […]

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October 15, 2014

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Women’s Support Group

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October 15, 2014

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5-minute mindful breathing exercise

Therese Cash, VCU Psychology doctoral student, shares this resource for those interested in mindfulness.  To learn more about mindfulness, view this article with information and resources. Five-Minute Mindful Breathing: “An ounce of practice is better than tons of theories” A great way to begin practicing mindfulness is to begin spending a few minutes each day […]

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October 15, 2014

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Mindfulness Information & Resources

VCU Psychology doctoral student Therese Cash created this information and resources page for us.  She recently completed a mindfulness research study at our center.  We will share those results once they become available. What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is a process and a skill that can be cultivated. It is a way of paying attention in […]

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October 6, 2014

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HDYO hosts event in Richmond

Join HDYO on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 in Richmond for a night of bowling! Come out, bowl a few games, enjoy some food and meet the HDYO Youth Worker and learn about the services for young people. The VCU HD Program will be hosting the monthly HD support group the same evening from 6pm-8pm. Adults […]

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September 29, 2014

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Gentle yoga class – Richmond

NEW Gentle Yoga Class starting October 13, 2014 in Richmond, VA Sarah Humphries E-RYT200 has located space for a new class appropriate for people with movement disorders. WHEN:  Mondays TIME:  3:00 PMWHERE:  First Baptist Church, 2709 Monument Ave, Richmond, VA This is a gentle yoga class with adaptations for those who need it.  The only […]

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