Posted by Peggy Whitbread

Joe and I had been regulars at the JF&CS Parkinson’s Family Support dance class for close to two and a half years. We started at my prodding Joe into just giving it a try for one or two weeks and ended up planning life, including doctor appointments, around Wednesday morning outings to Waltham.

Little did I know just how important not only Wednesday PD Dance but the Parkinson’s disease (PD) support structure at JF&CS would become to me as Joe’s caregiver. I soon became a regular at PD Care Partner Support bi-monthly meetings. I also became a client of Your Elder Experts geriatric care management program when I needed guidance, support, and advocacy in placing Joe in a skilled nursing facility for long-term care.

By the end of Joe’s rapid decline in health from July 2013 to October 2013, Joe was down to 123 pounds from an overweight 196 pounds the July before. He was presenting as 5th stage Parkinson’s: bed and wheelchair bound, unable to transfer from one to the other with even a two person assist, and unable to feed himself or hold a utensil. Suffice it to say things looked very bleak for my 69-year-old husband, and he entered hospice care.

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