I am still soaring from the weekend at the 6th Annual Southeastern Parkinson Disease Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Organized by the National Parkinson Foundation/Georgia, the conference was from October 14-16, 2011. While I’ve attended many Parkinson’s conferences, this one was particularly meaningful.
It was a conference planned by persons with Parkinson’s, geared to persons with Parkinson’s and their care partners. It wasn’t a conference planned by doctors who spoke condescendingly to Parkinson’s patients. We were all the same.
It was a conference where the attendees were from all walks of life (including doctors who’ve had to quit their practices because of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s), and persons of all ages and stages of the disease.
It was a conference that was considerate of its participants, scheduling half hour breaks between presentations to move around and socialize, and provided a night owl suite from 9 PM to 8 AM with snacks, cards and board games for those with Parkinson’s unable to sleep. It was a conference that was FUN--Imagine that!
Dressing up in costumes of the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s and dancing to the music of earlier eras gave us the opportunity to feel normal and escape Parkinson’s, even if only for several hours.
It was a conference that provided a wonderful opportunity to learn. Three of my favorite presentations, all involving audience participation, were:
Dance and Movement by Pamela Quinn http://pamelaquinn.net/press/the-magic-of-dance-for-parkinsons
Voice Aerobics by Mary Spremulli http://www.voiceaerobicsdvd.com/
Movement, Music and PD by Matthew Ford http://www.uab.edu/pt/faculty/11-faculty/7-matthewford and
To learn more about this conference, check out their website at: