Please help Peoples in spreading the word that April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month! As members of a community, knowledge of diseases that our neighbors, friends or family struggle with makes us better able to offer support. How do we do that?

In Austin, the first source for support and information is the Capital Area Parkinson’s Society (CAPS). Their website offers access to their calendar of events and support group meetings. The Capital Area Parkinson’s Society meets one Saturday a month (the third Saturday at 2:00 pm) at the Medical Office Building at St. David’s Medical Center. The address is 3000 North IH-35, Austin, 78705. They meet in the 5th Floor Conference Room. There is plenty of free parking available in their garage. The organization assists people dealing with Parkinson’s disease to access those resources that are available in the community including transfer seats, walkers, etc.

Parkinson’s disease symptoms of tremor, rigidity, involuntary muscle movement and difficulty initiating movement are all due to the degeneration of neurons that produce dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the chemical messenger that communicates from nerve to nerve to initiate muscle movement. As the disease progresses, the experience can be likened to wearing a concrete suit. This illustrates the importance of exercises that increase strength, flexibility and balance.

This month we are pleased to offer a sample class of Power for Parkinson’s at Peoples South on Wednesday, April 9th. It is a free exercise program for people with Parkinson’s in Austin. It was founded by Susan Stahl and Dr. Nina Mosier and there are classes offered all over town. Details on instructors, class schedule and fundraising activities can be found on the Power for Parkinson’s website.