TORONTO, ON– Parkinson Canada is pivoting to implement new service delivery methods as coronavirus (Covid-19) has a prolonged impact on Parkinson Canada’s operations. Just eight weeks ago, thousands of Canadians would have penciled their monthly support group meeting in their calendars. Others would have attended education events in communities coast to coast. Today, they are tuning in, logging on and connecting by telephone as they struggle to find ways to live well with Parkinson’s.

“The need to respect physical distancing disrupts routine and complicates both physical and non-motor symptoms. Parkinson’s symptoms of depression and anxiety can amplify feelings of loneliness and isolation, making daily life even more challenging. That’s why now more than ever, it’s important that we show Canadians living with Parkinson’s ‘you are not alone’,” says Karen Lee, President and CEO, Parkinson Canada.

This April, during Parkinson Awareness Month, the ‘You Are Not Alone’ online campaign invites people with Parkinson’s and their care partners to submit personal stories. The campaign shines the light on these resilient individuals and the everyday challenges they overcome.

In addition, starting today, Parkinson Canada is redeploying its resources to increase its educational and support offerings virtually to connect people where they are. Today’s Facebook Live event features a question and answer session with Parkinson Canada Information and Referral associates, to keep people with Parkinson’s safely active and engaged from home. In partnership with a variety of experts across the country, the new programming keeps people connected to one another and to their support systems. More events will be added in the coming weeks.

The changes at Parkinson Canada include a combination of tight cost containment, adapting program delivery and a reduction in staffing all in an effort to focus on serving the Parkinson’s Community better during these uncertain times, and well into the future. Effective today, the organization has reduced its staff by about 30% (some temporary) in light of the changes in its operations.

“We appreciate that those same generous donors who make all of the Parkinson’s programs and services possible, are also dealing with financial pressures. We owe it to them to make the best use of their gifts today and tomorrow. By focusing operations on the most essential programs and services, you can be assured that people living with Parkinson’s will be supported right now helping them to live the best quality of life possible. And longer term critical investments in research will continue in order to search for a cure,” says Lee, whose grandfather and uncle both lived with Parkinson’s.

About Parkinson Canada
Parkinson Canada serves people living with Parkinson’s disease, their families, and the healthcare professionals who treat them. Since 1965, the organization advocates with federal, territorial and provincial governments on issues that concern the Parkinson’s community in Canada. The Parkinson Canada National Research Program funds innovative research for better treatments and a cure. Parkinson Canada is a founding partner of the Canadian Open Parkinson Network. C-OPN will accelerate discoveries through a shared databank, biorepository and increased collaboration. A national registered charity, Parkinson Canada operates through the generosity of donors and is an accredited organization under the Imagine Canada Standards Program since 2013. Parkinson Canada participates in numerous coalitions and partnerships to fulfil its mission.

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