In support of local health, wellness and educational programs, the Parkinson’s Foundation is granting $1.5 million to Parkinson’s community programs in 38 states.
Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000, and focus on programs that either help underserved Parkinson’s disease communities, target newly diagnosed patients, or advocate for clinical trial education and participation.
“We are proud to announce these community grants and expand programs and resources in Parkinson’s communities across the entire nation,” said John L. Lehr, Parkinson’s Foundation president and CEO. “These grant recipients share our passion and commitment to making life better for people with Parkinson’s.”
In the past eight years, the organization has funded some 338 community-based programs that seek to meet unfulfilled patient needs.
A full roster of this year’s community grant awardees can be viewed here.
One of those recipients explained how the grant will benefit Parkinson’s patients in her community.
“We are deeply honored to have been awarded a Parkinson’s Foundation grant and are very excited at the opportunity to join current recipients in improving the everyday life of individuals with Parkinson’s,” Karen Weisinger of the Calvin Chin’s Martial Arts Academy in Newton, Massachusetts, said in a press release.
“Thanks to the Parkinson’s Foundation, we look forward to bringing this unique tai chi program to people with newly diagnosed PD,” she said.
Tai chi is an internal exercise system that combines breathing with slow, gentle movements to improve the flow of energy (chi) through the body, to quiet and calm the mind and emotions and improve overall health and well-being.
Tai chi has been found to be effective in reducing falls, which could be of extreme importance for those with Parkinson’s, who many times see their balance deteriorate as their condition progresses.
The Parkinson’s Foundation seeks to enhance life for patients by improving care and driving investigations toward a cure.
All funded programs are designed to help Parkinson’s patients live better-quality lives. They include education, wellness, dance, art, boxing, cycling, yoga, nutrition, caregiver support, and music therapy.
Researchers have found that Parkinson’s patients who exercise at least two-and-a-half hours a week also experience a slower decline in their quality of life. Specifically, more recent studies have focused on the concept of intense “forced” exercise, such as boxing, suggesting that certain types of exercise may be neuroprotective by actually slowing disease progression.
Yoga focused on mindfulness — a mental exercise focused on accepting oneself in the present — also has been found to lower anxiety, depression and motor impairment in people with mild-to-moderate Parkinson’s disease.