Forty people from as far away as Cincinnati, Saskatchewan, as well as various areas of B.C., are converging on Langley this week for a Parkinson’s retreat.
The event, only in its second year, is being run in Langley, from Friday through Monday, June 21 to 24 at the Trinity Western University.
Among those attending, there will be 23 people living with Parkinson’s, six family members, and 10 volunteer heath professionals coming together for what’s called RISE, a new Parkinson’s exercise and wellness retreat, said co-coordinator Naomi Casiro.
“We felt this retreat was desperately needed in Canada in order to help give those with Parkinson’s disease an environment where they could get research-based exercise, education, and inspiration from educated health professionals and community members,” explained Casiro, founder of Neurofit BC.
“When first beginning to plan the retreat we looked far and wide for an accommodation that could work with our population. Trinity Western is a gorgeous campus, which allows us the outdoor and indoor space to run our classes and events and the accommodation allows us to be bunk bed free which is important for many of our folks,” she said.
The retreat, which is in its second year, is going to give participants – ranging in age from 35 to 70 – the latest information and education about the disease, introduce them to Parkinson’s specific exercise programs, allow them to make connections with others living with the disease, and liaise with various Parkinson’s health care professionals such as a local neurologist and movement disorder specialist.
The guests will have a chance to take part in drumming, rhythmical dance, restorative yoga, nutrition talks, pole walking, and twice-daily Parkinson’s specific exercise classes – as a further example.
“This is the first of its kind in B.C.,” Casiro said, noting she co-hosting the event with Natasha Wilch, the founder of Symphony Rehabilitation. “It has been trialled in New York with great success.”
Parkinson’s is the second most common neuro-degenerative disorder after Alzheimers disease. The exact cause remains unknown although loss of dopamine in the brain is present in all cases of the disease.
There are approximately 100,000 (2008) people with Parkinson’s in Canada with approximately 13,000 (2014-15) in British Columbia.
The average age of diagnosis is 60.
But up to 20 per cent of individuals with Parkinson’s develop symptoms before the age of 60 – this is known as Young Onset Parkinson’s.
“We are both extremely passionate about working with the Parkinson’s disease population and have seen the deep and far reaching impact that intensive exercise can have on the lives of these people,” said Wilch of Nanaimo.