Anchorage symposium focuses on Parkinson's disease

Everyone seems to know someone with Parkinson’s disease, whether it be a family member, friend, neighbor, or a colleague. Cases of Parkinson’s disease have more than doubled over the last 25 years and show no signs of abating. It affects an estimated 1 million people living in the United States and is the fastest growing neurological disorder in the world, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Parkinson’s disease is a type of movement disorder that can affect the ability to perform common, daily activities. It is a chronic and progressive disease, meaning that the symptoms become worse over time and there is currently no cure.

Parkinson’s symptoms can broadly be divided into two categories – motor and non-motor.  Motor symptoms are ones that affect movements and include rest tremor, stiffness, slowness, difficulty with balance, shuffling gait, expressionless face and others. Non-motor symptoms do not affect movement and include mood disorders, cognitive disorders, sleep disorders, blood pressure variability, constipation, urinary frequency, pain syndromes and others.

Every person’s Parkinson’s disease journey is different. One thing that is consistent for all is the need for credible information, caring support and useful resources throughout the course of their disease. The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) is the largest grassroots network dedicated to fighting Parkinson’s disease and can serve as a trusted partner for those who are navigating their individual Parkinson’s disease experience.

APDA supports and educates people with Parkinson’s disease and their families by providing information, both online and in person, including educational webinars, publications, research and community resources.

APDA believes that people with Parkinson’s disease can live well by making life changes that will have a positive impact on current symptoms and future outcomes. However, first, people need to be equipped with the information and tools required to make these changes. That is why the Northwest Chapter of APDA is hosting “Parkinson’s Live Well Alaska”, a one-day educational symposium at the Anchorage Senior and Activity Center on Sept. 14, 2019, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Parkinson’s Live Well Alaska aims to educate, inspire, empower, and connect those impacted by Parkinson’s disease, including people living with the disease, their care partners, and family. Focusing on wellness, movement and research, the event will feature a slate of national and local experts who will present information about disease state and treatment options as well as the newest in research. In addition, fitness professionals dedicated to exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease will lead movement breakout sessions, and a licensed professional counselor will lead a session for care partners and family members.

“Our hope is that this event will be a catalyst for the creation and growth of support groups and Parkinson’s disease exercise classes in Alaska, and APDA will offer the necessary resources, guidance and support to help that happen, long after Parkinson’s Live Well Alaska has concluded,” said Jean Allenbach, Executive Director, APDA Northwest Chapter, which serves people living with Parkinson’s disease in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. The organization strives to promote hope and optimism through innovative services and programs, and fights for a better life tomorrow by funding vital local and national research.

Pre-registration for Parkinson’s Live Well Alaska is required. The conference fee is $30 per guest. To register and to find out about hotel accommodations, visit To learn about available scholarships to attend the event, please call 206-695-2905.

For questions about Parkinson’s Live Well Alaska or APDA, contact the APDA Northwest Chapter at 206-695-2905 or

Jennifer Gillick is the American Parkinson Disease Northwest Chapter program director.

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