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ULM holding program Oct. 13 - 14 on managing Parkinson’s

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:24 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The ULM Gerontology program is hosting a free virtual education and training program on managing Parkinson’s disease Oct. 13 and 14. It will be on Zoom from 8:30 a.m. to noon each day.

Dr. Anita Sharma, ULM Gerontology director, says the rate of Parkinson’s disease is high in America and by 2030, we will have more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 17.

With a large aging population, she says it’s important for us to be prepared to take care of these adults.

Gerontology focuses on the biological, social and psychological factors of aging.

Gerontologists work to understand the aging process to make it easier for people and address diseases like Parkinson’s, which wouldn’t be considered a normal part of aging.

This training program will focus on methods to help improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s.

“One of the speakers is a patient who has Parkinson’s disease. She has had it for a number of years and she’s an ambassador for other patients. She’s going to talk about her own personal experiences of living with Parkinson’s. Then, I have another special guest, who is going to talk about having grown up with a parent who had Parkinson’s, so it will be the point of view of an offspring, children of parents with Parkinson’s and how that affects the family and the interactions within the family,” Sharma said.

Presenters will cover subjects like understanding Parkinson’s, nutrition, physical therapy, music therapy and exercise therapy.

ULM has the only graduate Gerontology program in Louisiana, and it’s currently ranked third in the nation.

Dr. Sharma says it’s one of the fastest-growing fields right now and there’s a high demand for this profession.

She received a community grant from the Parkinson’s Foundation to fund this training program.

“People don’t know what’s going on when they see the tremors, when they see shaking hand or they see a move. They see a problem the way they are walking, so people who don’t know about the disease would just stare at a person and that creates a lot of social stigma. Any disease that makes a person stand out is going to create a certain kind of a social stigma, and that is another reason why we have to educate our community about diseases such as Parkinson’s.”

For questions and to register, email asharma@ulm.edu. Provide a mailing address for a certificate of completion. A Zoom link will be provided upon email confirmation.

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