Toolkit: Speakers & Topics

Support Group Leader's Toolkit

Speakers & Topics

Whether you are a member of a support group or a support group leader, whether you have been involved in a group for a short or extended period of time, helping your group develop an agenda that promotes ongoing learning and sharing a wide range of subjects can keep a strong group thriving and infuse a group that may be faltering with renewed energy.

Most people with PD work with an interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals. The following are a sample of the kinds of professional speakers and topics your group may want to consider inviting to speak with your group:

Neurologist/Movement Disorders Specialist

  • New treatments (medications, surgical intervention)
  • Research update

Pharmacist

  • PD medications

Dietician

  • Nutrition, vitamins, and minerals we need as we age; "wellness"
  • The importance of fluids and fiber in our diet
  • PD medications and their potential interaction with food (proteins)

Optometrist

  • Vision changes with PD

Speech Therapist

  • Speech and/or swallowing problems
  • Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT)/LOUD

Occupational Therapist

  • Safety in the home (i.e., kitchen, bathroom)
  • Fall prevention (how to fall, how to get up from a fall, etc.)
  • Vacationing with PD & travel tips

Nurse (from a physician's office)

  • "How to talk to your doctor" tips for office visits
  • Incontinence and bladder problems
  • Difficulties PD patients can encounter when in the hospital

Physical Therapist

  • "Move it or lose it" and demonstration of exercises to be done at home

Social Worker, Psychologist, Psychiatrist

  • Coping with the diagnosis
  • Adaptation/life changes
  • Family dynamics associated with chronic illness
  • Depression (what to watch for, how to overcome it)
  • Caregiving stress

Career Counselor

  • Transitioning from full- to part-time work
  • Analyzing your transferable skills and new/different job possibilities

 Dentist

  • Oral problems related to PD

Lawyer (disability/elder care attorney)

  • Understanding legal jargon - living wills, power of attorney, etc.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application process and other types of other assistance

OTHER TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION

  • Planning for the future
  • Driving (To drive or not to drive? When do I give up my keys?)
  • Long-Term care (assisted living, nursing home)

For additional information/ideas re: topics or speakers, please contact the APDA National Young Onset Center at 877.223.3801 or apda@youngparkinsons.org.

Adapted and printed, with permission, from APDA Arkansas Information & Referral Center, Lydia Stevens, RN, Coordinator.

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