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Ashland center helps those with Parkinson’s

Ellen Waldman

One thing that life might have in store for you as you age is illness. In fact, approximately 85% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition, and 60% have at least two chronic conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Coping and managing life with multiple chronic conditions is a real challenge. People naturally want to maintain a satisfying quality of life. It really needs to include not giving yourself a hard time for whatever has befallen you, health-wise. And if there are sound interventions that can assist in increasing the quality of life, then, of course, do those too.

One such assistance for those who have any type of movement disorder, such as Parkinson’s Disease, is a specific type of fitness and exercise program. There is such a facility designed to help you in Ashland, Parkinson’s Central (541-326-1190; Pdbalance@charter.net; 905 Skylark Place).

I spoke with Maria (who prefers Curly) Dykstra, the owner. Staying active is very important to delay the progression of the disease. Here’s what you’ll find there.

Parkinson’s Central is a 3,000-square-foot space that offers a large area for group classes, spin bikes, Thera-cycles, (which are specifically designed for those with neurological disorders), various weight machines, mounted heavy bags and speed bags used for boxing, a large-screen TV used for hybrid classes, and more amenities.

Some of the classes are rock-steady boxing (that got my attention), cycling, dance and one-on-one balance and strength training. Many clients come once a week and others up to three times a week for personal sessions. Some of them have been getting fitness help from Curly for many years.

Anyone can schedule a time to visit and try any class free of charge. You also don’t need a diagnosis of PD, as they welcome anyone who wants a more personal experience for their particular needs or fitness goals.

As for her experience, she has had 25 years working with and in the Parkinson’s community, and holds several Parkinson’s specific training certifications from Ohio State University, Rock Steady Boxing in Minneapolis, and OHSU.

In addition, she is certified as a medical exercise specialist, a personal and aquatic trainer, plus others. Curly will be happy to discuss your personal goals and the fees for these programs with you.

The results of all her experience are that most people who come for these Parkinson’s workouts and classes describe how much better they feel.

Five years ago, I wrote another column about PD. Here’s an important resource from that column that’s still relevant. Parkinson’s Resources of Oregon (parkinsonsresources.org) provides support and resources for people living with Parkinson’s disease, their families, and caregivers in Oregon and southwest Washington.

They estimate that there are 25,000 people with PD in Oregon. The occurrence of PD increases with age. The average onset of PD is 60; however, it occurs in adults as young as 30. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, only symptom treatments, and the cause is unknown.

Parkinson’s Central might be an important component for improving the quality of your life. Whether this specific condition, or aging alone, brings you through their front door, it’s always worth a try.

Ellen Waldman is a certified aging life care professional. Submit questions about aging and Ashland-area aging resources and column suggestions to her through her website, SeniorOptionsAshland.com.