Finding the Right Community

Finding the Right Community

The health and safety of our clients is of utmost importance to us. Our thoughts are with each and every one of you during these challenging and uncertain times.  

During these days of social distancing, support communities like the one described here are as vital as ever. And while physical connection isn’t always possible, everyone can reach out and connect by phone, video chat, and email.  

Each year, some 60,000 American’s are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and coming to terms with it can be challenging for individuals and their families. Thankfully, there are many available Parkinson’s resources (including In-Step Mobility), which offer support and can help ease the transition.

We recently spoke with Nancy Finigan, whose husband Rick, an In-Step Mobility client, has been living with Parkinson’s for the past 13 years.  When Rick was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 62, Nancy remembers thinking of all of the ways they would have to adapt their lives, “find support and to find people who would understand what we’re going through.” 

The Finnigans were living in upstate New York, and it was during the first winter after his diagnosis that they quickly realized they would need to move. Between the slick roads and icy sidewalks, Rick was having a hard time keeping his balance. “We decided to move to Florida, just like many people do when they retire,” Nancy said.

Instead of choosing a retirement community, the Finnigans moved to Southwest Florida, an area with a thriving Parkinson’s community built by the Parkinson’s Association of Southwest Florida. The community offers a full schedule of activities, educational classes, and support groups, and is dedicated to the care and wellbeing of individuals with Parkinson’s and their families.

Nancy noted the support both she and her husband felt soon after they moved into the community. “There were so many people who understood where we were coming from, and we were able to attend events and classes at the Parkinson’s Association.

One of the biggest issues on the forefront of anyone’s mind living with Parkinson’s, and in particular in a Parkinson’s community is maintaining mobility. Prior to the move to Florida, Rick’s doctor in upstate New York introduced him to the U-Step 10 years ago. Nancy says that the U-Step has helped keep Rick stay active and able to participate in all of the activities available to him in their community. “Being able to maintain his independence means everything in terms of his daily activities,” Nancy explained.  

Nancy agrees that finding the right community is crucial. She said she is grateful for the Parkinson’s Association of Southwest Florida and the education and support they offer family members and caregivers. “It gives us something to look forward to and gets us out of the house, for sure!”

Studies have shown that individuals with Parkinson’s who continue to be active and challenge their minds can slow the onset of symptoms, which is why maintaining physical and mental activity is so important. 

Communities like these are changing lives for the better and In-Step Mobility is encouraged to see new support networks being built all over the country to ease the lives of those with Parkinson’s. 

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, please reach out to your local Parkinson’s Association to see what services and support are offered in your area. You can check out the Parkinson’s Association of Southwest Florida here.