Parkinson's Community Educator Service
There are over 30 Parkinson's Community Educators across New Zealand. They provide education, information and help people make informed decisions about living with Parkinson’s.
Parkinson's Community Educators can provide:
- Home visits. These provide individualised advice through a personal assessment. Our Community Educators work with the person with Parkinson’s, their family and carers to provide information and support to an agreed plan that promotes best health and lifestyle.
- Support groups for members with similar needs or issues. This may include groups for people with Parkinson’s, carers, or people with early onset Parkinson’s. These groups come together to share coping strategies, experiences and are a chance to establish social networks. These meetings also provide relevant information and educational opportunities, and speakers.
- Referrals. Your Community Educator can give advice and liaise with health professionals and others who work with people with Parkinson’s in the community, as appropriate. For example speech language therapists, occupational therapists (who can arrange things like handrails or bath seats, they also can help you learn new ways to do daily activities) and physiotherapists.
- Advice on monitoring of medication. Parkinson’s medication routines are unique to each individual and your Community Educator can help with information about managing side effects, ‘on and off’ periods and sleep problems.
- General advice. If you need advice on how to arrange mobility vouchers, parking permits, home help and other general assistance, your Community Educator can help.
- Advocacy. Need someone to work beside you or speak on your behalf? Our Community Educators can assist with conversations with hospitals, specialists and employers.
- Social activities provide a sense of togetherness and give members an opportunity to meet, talk and support each other during social outings. Your Community Educator will be able to tell you about the social activities held in your area.
- Exercise and other therapies. Your Community Educator can let you know what programmes for people with Parkinson’s are available in your area. This may include exercise, physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and art or music therapy sessions. Research has shown that exercise is a vital component in the overall management of Parkinson’s.
- Educational seminars. Many of Parkinson’s New Zealand’s branches and divisions organise educational seminars. Education seminars provide access to a variety of speakers including neurologists, Parkinson’s researchers, pharmacists and other health professionals. Your Community Educator can advise you about any seminars that may be occurring in your area including those presented by other organisations that may be relevant.
- Facilitate family/whanau meetings. Community Educators are available to meet with family/whanau to discuss how they can best support their family member. They can provide information about Parkinson’s to give family/whanau a better understanding of the condition. They can also provide information about respite care, both day programmes and short term care, available in your area.