December 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

December is a time for getting together to celebrate the fun and joy of this festive season.   It is easy to get lost in the glitter of lights and hustle and bustle of holiday shopping. But what is the true spirit of this time of year? Material objects and gift wrapping aside, this is a time for generosity.

Home for the Holidays focuses not on the material gifts we hope to give or receive but on the most important gifts of all- giving a little of yourself, and reflecting on the the gifts we receive everyday. 

  • Gratitude.  Take a moment to reflect on what adds meaning to your life.
  • Volunteering. The gift that keeps giving.  Learn how volunteering is good for others and your health!

This month's member submissions offer inspiring tips toward gracious living in Recipe for happiness and You are not your disease.

Join us next month as we bring in the New Year and prepare for 2011.  Join Team Parkinson's Kilimanjaro and work together to make your 2011 wellness goals a reality.  Register for the Kick off Seminar on January 22nd. You may register online or call 1-877-980-9500 to learn more about this exciting program.

Also don't forget to take our 2011 survey and sign up for the Second Annual Wellness Day as we explore the Power of the Mind.

Happy Holidays,

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

November 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

It is no coincidence that Thanksgiving and National Caregiver’s month occur in the same month. We are thankful for the help, support and guidance that they bring. Parkinson’s affects the whole family and we sometimes forget about the health and wellbeing of the caregiver. As a caregiver, you may feel overwhelmed or stress at any stage of Parkinson’s. Your health and mood may be at risk.

We are all caregivers, carepartners or need a caregiver some time in our life in our life. Therefore this edition, Caring for the Caregiver, is for all of us. 

  • Be Prepared.  Print these documents to organize you and your family’s medical information and be prepared for medical and hospital visits.
  • Top Tips for Caregivers. This article is about caregiving and caregiver health.
  • Simplify. Sometimes less is more.
  • Nutrition for Energy and Stress. You may supervise meals, do the cooking yourself or eat on the fly. These healthy tips are designed to improve energy and enhance your immune system.
  • Take time for yourself

Join Team Parkinson's Kilimanjaro and work together to make your goals a reality.  Register for the Kick off Seminar on January 22nd. You may register online or call 1-877-980-9500 to learn more about this exciting program..

Join us next month as we prepare for the holiday season with the series, Home for the Holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

October 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

Autumn is the season of change. As Summer days shorten, the air turns cool and brisk, people retreat indoors and nature prepares for the dormant times of Winter.

‘Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is the ripeness and color and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth and distance. What man can stand with autumn on a hilltop and fail to see the span of his world and the meaning of the rolling hills that reach to the far horizon?’ 
Hal Borland

With change comes time for introspection as change can conjure up different emotions, insights and opportunities. Some of us fear change as it takes us away from our comfort zone and what is familiar. Yet others embrace it, seeing opportunities for growth and new experiences. Most of us are somewhere in between. Life with Parkinson’s is a lesson in living with change. This series is all about change - both good and bad. 

Be sure to vote in our survey to determine the theme for our Second Annual Wellness Day for Parkinson's on March 5th, 2011. 

Join us in November during National Caregiver’s Month as we honor and support Parkinson’s care partners in  'In It Together'.

Make change a positive experience,

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

September 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

This is the time of year that children and young adults return to school. You too can strengthen your cognitive skills-sharpen you pencils, join a club, enroll in a class, tap into your creative passions and challenge your mind. 

This series, Sharpen Your Pencils, is dedicated to Cognitive Health. Learn about the cognitive changes sometimes seen in Parkinson’s (and aging) and what you can do about them.

Join us next month as we usher in the Fall season and explore the topic of adaptation in Time for Change.

Engage your mind,

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

August 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

Medicines play a significant role in your health and wellbeing with Parkinson’s disease. It is important to know what medicines you are on, what is expected to change with this medicine, and its side effects. Your medicines may change over the years so it is very important to keep track of medicines you have taken, how they worked and any side effects that you may experience. This helps avoid future complications.

This series reviews the current medicines designed to help you move better.

Medicines for Movement series includes:

Join us next month as we explore cognitive health in Sharpen Your Pencils.

Best of health,

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

July 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

Our diets change from the heavy comfort food of winter to the light, fresh and refreshing foods of summer. Our choices of fresh and local produce increase with the abundance of fruits and vegetables available to us this time of year.

This month’s series is dedicated to Food as Medicine. 

I believe there is so much that we are yet to learn as to the health benefits and disease fighting potential of many vitamins and supplements. What is clear is that vitamins and supplements are just one of many steps to take for health and the fact that nothing takes the place of a well balanced diet. We have added two new features to help with your dietary needs.

  1. Take a look at your diet and take the steps for change by completing this Nutrition Survey.
  2. Recipe Book. Find recipes that are good for you and your PD. Share your own recipes.

In this series we will  also take a look at food as medicine for Parkinson’s.  

  • Mediterranean diet. A lifestyle choice? Review the many health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
  • Protein and levodopa. This article reviews some common misconceptions and offers practical advice about medicines and mealtime.
  • Beans as a source of dopamine. Learn what you need to know to be a safe consumer of these products. Fava beans and Mucuna Pruriens.
  • Antioxidants. What are they, why are they good for us, and how do I get more?
  • Top Foods for PD.  Learn about the top foods for PD and why they're good for you. Help this list grow by submitting your own top food and why. This month's highlighted food- Chocolate!

I am excited to see that the Wellness community is growing in numbers and participation. Keep this community by submitting your stories, experieinces or comments. You will find multiple opportunities to share your experieinces withothers throught out this site. Turn to Stories of Inspiration and be prepared to be inspired by others.

Join us next month as we review Parkinson’s Medications and the latest research designed to bring new treatments to the Parkinson’s community.

Healthy Eating, 

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

June 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

Summer is right around the corner and many of us our planning a vacation, a weekend getaway or more time to relax. Taking the time to relax is important to our wellbeing, serves as a great stress reliever, stimulates our mind, helps us reconnect with family and friends and rejuvenates the soul. For some with Parkinson’s, vacation can also be a time of stress, anxiety or fatigue- but it does not have to be.

This month’s series, Get out of town, will focus on safe and happy travels.

  • Healthy Travels and Moving Well When Traveling, offers travel tips to keep you and your Parkinson’s symptoms doing your best on the go. 
  • By sea, land or air. Be safe and feel well no matter how you get there.
  • Don't pack your stress. Dr Shaw will review the steps you can take to make your travel a positive and stress free experience.

Next month we will review nutrition and diet in Food as Medicine.

Wishing you fun, rest and relaxation this summer season, 

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

May 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

One of the most common questions that I am asked as a healthcare provider is, what vitamin or supplement should I take for my health and Parkinson’s disease. It is so easy to become confused by the many contradictory research results and claims that are made. One day you hear that vitamin E is good for us and the next researchers announce that we should use high dose vitamin E supplements with caution due to health risk. In addition, the vitamin and supplement industry is a billion dollar industry with marketing claims promising everything from disease cures to anti-aging.

I believe there is so much that we are yet to learn as to the health benefits and disease fighting potential of many vitamins and supplements. What is clear is that vitamins and supplements are just one of many steps to take for health and the fact that nothing takes the place of a well balanced diet.

In this series we will take a look at the more common vitamins and supplements used or under research investigation for brain health and Parkinson’s.

Join us next month as we get ready for summer in "Get Out of Town - Tips for Travel and Relaxation".

Wishing you the best of health,

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

April 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

We are celebrating wellness in honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month.  We have collected your personal definitions of what it means to be well. We received responses from so many in the community- patients, family members, caregivers, doctors, clinicians, therapists to name a few.

Just as life changes over the years, what makes us well changes and  may even grow richer over time. I was truly inspired by the collective wisdom in your responses.  I hope you are too. Take a moment to read voices of wellness and reflect on what adds 'wellness' to your life.   

  • Define Your Wellness. This month’s feature, Define Your Own Wellness, reminds us that we can be 'well' no matter what stage of Parkinson’s we are in. 
  • Reinvent the Wheel.  Prioritizing what is important to you is the first step.
  • Voices of Wellness.  Each of us can expand our own ideas of what adds wellness to life by learning from others.

Join us next month as we review Vitamins and Supplements- A Practical Approach

Wishing you wellness this Spring Season,

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

March 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

Welcome to the March edition of the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation Wellness Center, a virtual community focused on hope, healing, and wellness for all touched by Parkinson’s.   

This month we will focus on Mind Power-  one of the most powerful steps to improved sense of wellbeing. Our mind guides how we feel emotionally and physically. Our mind can give us strength, motivation, creativity, compassion, courage, hope, self esteem, joy- or take it away.

Engage your mind’s powerful potential!

  • The Power of a ‘Sugar Pill’. We review the mysteries of the ‘placebo effect’ and how this shapes our understanding of research and treatment effects.
  • Find your Sugar Pill. ‘If you believe it, it will happen’. The placebo effect is not all bad. Learn easy strategies to harness you placebo effect.
  • Silence the Mind. Don’t let ‘life’s moments pass you by’. Being present in the moment can lead to greater joy, awareness, and new experiences. Dr. Jan Fite, PhD a clinical psychologist at the University of Washington discusses the power of mindfulness practice.
  • Glass Half Full. Think positive. Positive thoughts encourage positive moods leading to positive activities.

Help us reach our goal of 100 Voices of Wellness as we celebrate Parkinson’s Awareness month in April. We will learn from each other and gain insights that will shape our own ideas of wellness. Please take a moment to share what wellness means to you.

Find one reason to smile each day,

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

February 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

Welcome to the second edition of the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation Wellness Center, a virtual community focused on hope, healing, and wellness for all touched by Parkinson’s.   

Last month we visited the New Year’s resolution with the Use it or lose it series of articles. 

This month we will continue our focus on exercise with the series, “Fighting Parkinson’s one step at a time”.  

  • Resolution 2010. Starting an Exercise Program and Sticking with It.  Maria Walde-Douglas, PT, a physical therapist at the Struthers Parkinson’s Center in Minneapolis, offers helpful information and tips to start an exercise program.
  • Exercise Safely- Avoid Injuries Tips on how to stay safe and avoid physical injury from Sierra Farris, PA-C – a  movement disorders and DBS specialist at the Booth Gardner Parkinson’s Care Center and an experienced physical trainer.
  • Staying Motivated to Exercise - Top ten tips for getting and staying motivated, from Susie Roe, MD, a movement disorders specialist at Swedish Hospital. 
  • Move with a Group- Exercise Programs in Your Community Explore the options to get you up and moving.

Coming in March, our Mind Power series will teach you about the power of the mind and positivity in promoting health and wellbeing with Parkinson’s.

I wish you well as you begin your exercise routine,

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

January 2010

Dear Wellness Member,

Welcome to the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation Wellness Center, a virtual community focused on hope, healing, and wellness for all touched by Parkinson’s. As we welcome in the 2010 New Year, we reflect on last years, goals, achievements, and experiences. We learn from these experiences, remembering the good times and the not so good. With lessons learned from the past, many of us will set a New Years’ resolution vowing to change, focus or improve some part of ourselves.

The New Year’s resolution dates back to 153 BC when Janus, a mythical king of Rome, was placed on a coin. Janus has two faces, one looking back and one forward. The coin was a symbol for Romans to look for forgiveness and understanding from their past and good fortune in the future. This led to the tradition of exchanging the gift of a branch of good fortune for the New Year (January was named after Janus).

Our priorities and life values are different for each of us – and so are our New Year’s resolutions. A pledge to improve health and fitness through exercise is one of the most commonly pledged resolutions.  In our January Wellness series, Use it or Lose it, we explore the impact of exercise on brain health and improved function. However, improved brain function does not stop with exercise. Creativity, spirituality, mindfulness and emotional health are equally important. Explore the positive changes in brain health that are possible and decide what you would like to see unfold in your 2010.

January 2010 Series: “Use it or lose it”.  The old saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is no longer accurate. We can learn, our brains can change and performance improves even into the golden years. Our New Year’s Series “Use it or lose it”explores how our own lifestyle and behaviors can improve our brain activity by an adaptive change called neuroplasticity, and protect the vulnerable nerve cells that are susceptible to damage in Parkinson’s disease, a process called neuroprotection. We hope that this series encourages and motivates you as you make your New Year’s resolution to live your best in 2010.  

In the New Years series you will learn from Dr. Jay Alberts, PhD a leading researcher at the Cleveland Clinic who is studying the effects of exercise on brain cells health and Dr.  Martha Glisky, PhD a Clinical Neuropsychologist at the Booth Gardner Parkinson’s Care Center in Kirkland WA whose focus on mind, emotions and physical health reminds us of the importance of balance in life.  The "Use it or lose it" series includes:

Neuroplasticity-practice makes perfect

Neuroplasticity- more than just movement

Neuroprotection- exercise to protect dopamine nerve cells

Move to remember- exercise to help cognitive abilities 

Look to February for more on the power of exercise in Parkinson’s health and wellbeing in our series, “Fighting Parkinson’s - one step at a time”.  

I wish you the best of health and wellness in your New Year,

Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

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