Every nine minutes someone in our community is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). chances are you or someone you know or love will be affected by the disease.
PD is the fastest growing neurological disorder. Some scientists report it has surpassed Alzheimer’s as a disease, the number one age related diagnosed neurogenerative disease. With no cure insight, diagnosis at the average age of 60 and living in a community where more than 25% of its residents are 65 years of age or older has led many scientists and neurologists believing we are on the cusp of an emerging pandemic. And as life expectancy increases, so does the number of people living with the disease which is expected to double in the next 15 years.
It is a disease of the central nervous system that touches almost every aspect of daily living, including movement, mood, speech, eating and drinking, sleep, and cognitive changes. It progresses over time, robbing a person of independence through increasing complications, and impacts the loved ones of people with Parkinson’s as well.
Currently there is no objective test to diagnose PD. Typically, a neurologist takes a careful medical history and performs a thorough neurological examination, looking in particular for two or more of the cardinal signs to be present.
- Tremor or shaking
- Small handwriting
- Loss of smell
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble moving or walking
- Soft or low voice
- Masked face
- Dizziness or fainting
- Stooped or hunched over
For over 20 years, the Parkinson Association of Southwest Florida (PASFI) has been improving the quality of life of persons with Parkinson’s and their care partners while creating a safe, nurturing, and welcoming community. They advocate for our members and educate our community about PD. They nurture relationships among those involved in the care of persons with PD.
They connect people to the information, support services, programs, and activities they need to enhance Wellness, live and active, engaged life moving forward, and delay the progression of the disease. Daily from Marco Island to southernly County, they offer movement classes, support groups, speech classes, social activities, and educational programming for people with PD, their care partners, and families.
It is through the generosity of our community that they are able to provide quality programs and services free of charge. They receive no government funding to support their work.
April was national Parkinson’s awareness month. Together, we can empower people with PD, their families and friends, researchers, health professionals, and others to raise awareness and encourage them to advocate for those impacted by the disease.
This April, PSFI held several events to celebrate the month: Two fund raising events that supported the local Parkinson community were two up Tuesday on April 3rd and the 18th Annual Augusta on the Gulf on Friday, April 27 at the vineyards Country Club.
For more information on Parkinson’s disease or to get involved please call 239-417-3465.