Finding Support & Exercise for Loved Ones of Those with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease complicates many aspects of life. Driving to the store, going on a walk, having a conversation with friends—your relationship to all of these activities changes with PD. For those whose parents, siblings, spouses, or partners have Parkinson’s Disease, watching their loved ones grapple with this disease can be truly heartbreaking. If someone you love lives with Parkinson’s Disease, find support and care at the Parkinson’s Exercise and Wellness Center.

Fit2Care, an exercise class specifically for caregivers and loved ones of PD, is held at the PEWC on Saturday mornings. This class has proved an important avenue for many of our members’ spouses to make connections and share in their PD journey.

Maria Shannon, whose husband Scott attends PEWC classes, has been an active member in Fit2Care for many years. “I have absolutely loved our Fit2Care group! Not only has it provided great support, laughter, and camaraderie, we have also gotten a dose of what our loved ones with PD experience when they choose to vigorously exercise and box!” Maria sees this class as a vital resource for her and the other members. “As we become stronger through Fit2Care, we can better help and assist our loved ones with PD, as well as encourage them to keep at it. We would love for more loved ones of PD to give this class a try.”

For some participating in Fit2Care, it has been a relief to find commonality in their experiences. Dave Evers, husband to Cathy Evers, who has PD, says, “I think what is most helpful is knowing that what I am experiencing is not at all unique, and this group helps you understand and cope with that.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, attendance of Fit2Care, like many other classes, has dropped, but some members are returning to their favorite weekend exercise class.

Diane Bashor, a Fit2Care member and wife to Terry, a PEWC member, says of returning, “With the pandemic, I have truly missed our Fit2Care classes. We are now doing our Saturday morning class, but many are still not coming due to the pandemic... I truly look forward to getting back to pre-pandemic class schedules so I can spend more time with my new friends.” Diane and Terry had found many enriching relationships during their time at the center. “We missed each other so much that we started doing weekly Zoom calls to keep in touch with each other.”

In addition to this exercise class, many members attend PD Partners, a support group for loved ones of those living with PD. Hosted by Julia Mitchell, another Fit2Care member, this monthly support group has provided essential validation and companionship for our PD community.

Though Parkinson’s is a horrible, debilitating disease, there is hope and solidarity to be found in bolstering this community. To join Fit2Care or PD Partners, or learn more about support systems available to you, please contact us at