Each of the support groups is unique. They have many different meeting formats and focuses, determined by the individuals who belong to each group. All, however, share a strong sense of community and fellowship. Members are free to come just as they are and to participate as they wish. Much encouragement is offered, along with a sincere understanding that the range of membership is as broad as the range of symptoms throughout the disease’s progression.
For the most part, support groups are self-managed and self-led. Their purpose is to share information and offer mutual support. Both persons with PD and caregivers become not only empowered but also essential in the management of the disease and the changes it brings to their lives. They become better equipped as both healthcare consumers and uniquely qualified providers of information and support to others.
Support groups broaden the circle of friends. The relationships formed within the group are not intended to replace existing friendships, but to add to the existing cluster of family and friends. These friends often have a perspective that only those intimate with the disease can offer and an empathy born of common experience, not expertise. Group members are often the sounding board in talking out fears, concerns, or setbacks and celebrating victories along the way.
If you are a person with Parkinson’s disease or a caregiver, and not a member of a support group, please consider attending one or more of the following support groups. They are all very receptive to new members and will welcome your participation at any level.
Online PD Support Groups
*Smart Patients Parkinson’s Disease Community in partnership with American Parkinson Disease Foundation: Click here.
*Patients Like Me forum: Click here.
*Young Onset Forum through the National Parkinson Foundation: Click here.
*Open Forum with the National Parkinson Foundation: Click here.
*Daily Strength support group: Click here.
*Healthful Chat chat room: Click here.
*For caregivers and loved ones of people with PD: Click here.