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Do You Really Need a Support Group?

by Lauren Simmons

Like many others, I avoided going to a support group for quite a while after my diagnosis. When I look back, I was in a support group early on. I attended a Parkinson’s exercise program and we often showed up early to class or stayed after to chat. While we stretched, we discussed upcoming events and the latest research. We met for coffee, went to lunch, and shared information about PD along the way.Those who had lots of experience with PD, shared tips and tricks with those of us who were newly diagnosed. The information was invaluable. Before I knew it, I was one of those who was sharing my knowledge with the newbies. This is what a support group does.

Seven years later, I help lead several groups and I rarely attend a group where I don’t come away with some nugget of information that may help me live better with PD.

We are fortunate in Orange County to have many support groups, both in person and virtual, including groups for care partners, women with Parkinson’s, faith based groups and even a group for care partners of those with dementia. Every group is a little different and I always recommend trying different groups to see where you feel most comfortable. Parkinson’s shouldn’t be faced alone. If you are not in a group, consider joining one. You may find out that the group has just what you need. And you may find out that you have just what the group needs. You can find a list of OC support groups here.