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Charlotte & Richard Okonow Parkinson's Family Support

The Charlotte & Richard Okonow Parkinson’s Family Support program specializes in helping families live as fully as possible with the many challenges of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

For twelve years, JF&CS has been providing arts-based therapeutic activities, education, resources, and a supportive community for people with Parkinson’s and their families. Tools and approaches for self-management of PD are part of all of our programming. Okonow Parkinson’s Family Support is here to help with the challenges of living with PD and to help improve quality of life.

“Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears - it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more - it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.” - Dr. Oliver Sacks

Therapeutic Programming

Our therapeutic movement and dance and choral singing programs address the important functions of movement, balance, and voice. Skilled instructors use creative and therapeutic approaches and activities are structured so that everyone can participate at his or her own level. People with Parkinson’s and their care partners value these activities for the physical benefits and the strategies for symptom management as well as the supportive community. David Leventhal, who works with Parkinson’s programs worldwide as the Director of Dance for PD at the Mark Morris Dance Group, referred to our program as “one of the most established in the nation.”

Preregistration is required, and there is a fee to participate is these programs. A care partner must accompany participants who require personal care assistance. Financial aid is available. To register, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or contact us.

Therapeutic Movement and Dance

Therapeutic Movement and Dance targets the movement challenges of PD.

  • Class focuses on flexibility, mobility, balance, and coordination.
  • Stimulating activity connects the mind and body.
  • People may participate sitting or standing.
  • No difficult sequences to learn. Dance experience is not necessary.
  • Therapeutic movement session is followed by a break for refreshments, socializing, and supportive group conversation.
  • Meets most Wednesday mornings at JF&CS Headquarters in Waltham from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Registration is required.

The Tremble Clefs

The Tremble Clefs choral group is designed to help strengthen the voices of people with PD.

  • Engaging choral singing helps with PD-related voice and communication challenges.
  • Offered in consultation with speech and language therapists.
  • Chorus incorporates LSVT® inspired vocal exercise and attention to posture and breathing.
  • Dynamic conducting and live piano accompaniment enrich the choral experience.
  • New and experienced singers are welcome. No auditions.
  • Meetings include a break for refreshments and socializing.
  • Meets weekly in Newton – autumn, winter, and spring – Monday mornings from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

Registration is required.

Support Groups

We offer different support groups to meet the needs of people with Parkinson’s as well as their care partners. Support groups provide Parkinson’s education, tools for PD self-management, and strategies for caregivers. Discussions are supportive and informative.

Quarterly Education, Networking, and Support Group

Quarterly Education, Networking, and Support Group offers expert speakers on the medical science of PD and resources for improving quality of life with PD.

  • Timely topics and lively community discussion
  • Groups are professionally facilitated.
  • Meets four times a year on the first Thursday morning of September, December, March, and June from 10:30 a.m. to noon at JF&CS Headquarters in Waltham.
  • This group does not require registration. There is no cost to attend. Contact us for details.

Care Partner Support Groups

Care Partner Support Groups help reduce stress for family members as they share strategies.

  • Groups are professionally facilitated.
  • Groups focus on understanding the effects of PD as well as sharing concerns, strategies, and ways to cope.
  • Meetings are held twice a month in Waltham: One group meets on Tuesdays and the other group meets on Thursdays, from 10:30 a.m. - noon.
  • On the North Shore: Group meets twice per month. Call for details.
  • Preregistration is required, and there is a fee to participate. Financial aid is available. To register, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or contact us.

Adult Child Group

Adult Child Group focuses on PD education and strategies for supporting a parent or parents.

  • Group’s facilitator shares information on the physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of PD and the impact on families.
  • Participants learn strategies for offering help to parents and for planning for the future as the disease progresses.
  • Not currently meeting; please inquire with interest or questions at 781-647-JFCS (5327) or contact us

Group for Women with PD

This group began with a grant from the Parkinson’s Foundation and offers women with PD a place to share their experiences with peers.

  • Professionally facilitated discussions.
  • Participants gain strength by sharing with other women at similar stages of disease progression.
  • Not currently meeting. Please inquire with interest or questions at 781-647-JFCS (5327) or contact us

Information, Referrals, and Consultation

When living with Parkinson’s, people should not have to reinvent the wheel. Information, reliable referrals, and consultations are available by phone or email. JF&CS provides resources and experts who understand PD to help with a wide variety of issues.

  • Navigating the healthcare system
  • Planning for the future with chronic disease
  • Maintaining independence in the community
  • Finding caregiver support
  • Facilitating home safety
  • Maintaining mobility and community engagement

For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us page.

Charlotte & Richard Okonow Parkinson's Family Support on YouTube

Okonow Parkinson's Family Support

Community Quilt Note Cards

Community Quilt note cards are a wonderful way to support the Parkinson's program and solve your gift decisions, all at the same time!
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781-647-JFCS (5327)
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1430 Main Street
Waltham, MA 02451
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