A neurodegenerative disease that is expected to double by 2031, Parkinson's disease is more than mere tremors.
The seventh annual Flexxaire Parkinson Step 'n Stride will be taking place at nine locations across Alberta and Mitford Park will play host to Cochrane's walk on Sept. 8.
Parkinson's can affect people very differently, but mostly, it challenges one's ability to move and walk and sometimes to speak and swallow. It also has some non-movement symptoms that can be affected like cognition, sleep, memory and mood.
"It changes over time, It's a progressive disease in that way," said Tessa Veikle, client service coordinator with the Parkinson's Association.
"It mostly affects people in their later years, so sometimes they say that age is the biggest risk factor for Parkinson's," Currently, there are over 10,000 Albertans affected by Parkinson's disease with the average age of diagnoses being 56.
While those living with Parkinson's tend to manage their symptoms through medication, Parkinson's news today points out seven ways that you can self-manage the disease:
- First off, Educate yourself, the more you are aware of it, the more you can be prepared for what comes
- Healthy Lifestyle - remaining active is important as well as eating a balanced diet
- Hobbies and Socializing - finding pastimes to take your mind off the disease and remaining social so you don't become isolated
- Complementary Therapies - Whether this be meditation, acupuncture or essential oils
- Mobility Aids - Invest in one before you need it, that way you know how to use it
- Keep your Independence - continue to work on doing things on your own without help even if it takes twice as long
- Join a Support Group - A local group of those also struggling with Parkinson's will allow you to share your experiences with and maybe get some tips through them that will help you in everyday life
Although research continues to be done about Parkinson's, a cause and cure are yet to be found. To better help the cause, all proceeds from the Step 'n Stride walk will stay within the province and will carry through to fund services, resources, and research to continue to aid Albertans.
Cochrane has a scheduled exercise group that meets at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre with an instructor who has experience with Parkinson's disease.
"It allows them a place to exercise since that is important and they also have coffee after so it has that social part," says Veikle.
The Parkinson's Association of Alberta wants to educate, help people cope and fight. To aid that effort people are invited to show the world #WhyIWalk, which invites past walkers, clients, care partners, families and other supporters to create short videos (no longer than 90 seconds in length) sharing why they participate in Step 'n Stride. Videos can be emailed to Parkinson Association of Alberta to be shared on the Parkinson's Association's website, Facebook, YouTube channel, Instagram, Twitter and Google+ accounts.
The provincial goal is $440,000 with hopes that Cochrane can raise $30,000.
Flexxaire Parkinson Step 'n Stride is the largest annual fundraising event for the Parkison's Association of Alberta. You can register for the walk at www.parkinsonassociation.ca/stepnstride and make sure you don't forget to snag your Flexxaire Step 'n Stride toque at check-in on walk day.