This section provides an overview of the contents of the Fighting Fit programme.
Prior to arrival you will receive a full information pack comprising joining instructions, advice on what to wear, a blank ‘Personal Objectives’ template for you to fill in, a survey and directions to the hotel.
No-one likes sitting still for very long and so throughout the programme we will be stopping for breaks and introducing exercise and other activities.
Over the weekend we offer six 45 minute exercise ‘taster’ sessions such as Tai-Chi, PD Power, Spinning and Boxing and hope you will join in social activities that have be arranged that are known to help people with Parkinson’s such as dancing and singing.
We want to make everyone feel at their ease and so we will use the opening session to explain the running order and objectives of the programme and enable everyone to start to get to know each other.
Self-help – what’s out there?
This is an opportunity to discuss the many and varied sources of reliable information for people with Parkinson’s.
We will share details of organisations that offer regular newsletters and provide web forums and self-help ideas.
Working-age groups are being established in many parts of the country and we will use one as a case study of the kind of things that are being done.
My personal objectives
We would like you to have thought about what you want to get out of the programme before arrival. We will have a short session on sharing objectives so that we can understand how we may be able to support each other.
How technology can help
In this session we want to raise awareness of various types of assistive technology available to help people with Parkinson’s in aspects of their daily life.
We will provide case studies and demonstrations and signpost potential new technologies that are emerging.
We will discuss how social media can be used to help build a community of people and we hope to get feedback from you about your use of technology.
Exercise and neuroplasticity
Exercise is good for you. And it’s especially good for you if you have Parkinson’s.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and the best exercise to do will depend on the way Parkinson’s affects you.
In the last few years, it has been observed that exercise leads to improved blood flow and a healthier immune system. Exercise has also been shown to help to create the optimal environment for neuroplasticity to repair the injured brain.
Working with Parkinson’s
It is important that people with Parkinson’s are aware of their employment rights and the benefits that may be available to support them.
Parkinson’s UK has a wealth of information available to help and we will cover how to go about accessing support.
We will also discuss how to make the NHS work for you.
Skills for working life
In this session we plan to raise awareness of various challenges and potential coping mechanisms that can assist you in all aspects of your daily working life. We will use role-play as a way to try out new approaches.
We will discuss practical, physical issues such as writing, speech, movement, expression and tiredness as well as the mental and emotional aspects involved in completing work place tasks.
Wellbeing and relationships
Apathy is much more common in people with Parkinson’s. Studies suggest it may affect up to 70% of people with the condition. So what’s to do about it? We will explore how simple steps can help you to take control.
Parkinson’s can affect your relationships with partners, family, friends and work colleagues. There are things you can do to adapt to these changes and fit them into your life and we will explore some of the issues involved.
You will learn about the research that is taking place around the world to help to deal with a wide range of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s as well as the work that it is hoped will stop the progression of the condition.
We will outline why being a member of the Research Support Network is worthwhile and describe how you can get involved in research trials.
Nutrition, complementary treatments and medication
In addition to all of the other points we have covered there are important life-style choices you can take to help you to improve your daily life. These include things like diet and nutrition as well as complementary treatments like podiatry, acupuncture and of course medication.
We will discuss some of the options and provide sign-posting to information sources for you to follow up.
At the end of the weekend we will invite you to update the personal plan that you developed before the programme started in order to document the new things you are going to do as a result of the programme and the information sources you plan to follow up on.