Meet Pam - Dancing With Parkinson's
My friend told me about the Dancing with Parkinson’s class and asked me if I would like to go along to the class with her. I remember telling her that I’m not much good at dancing but I would give it a try. I decided to attend the class held in Wivenhoe as this is where I live. I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the class and now I attend classes regularly.
I noticed there was a friendly and informal atmosphere when I walked into my first class. We sat in a circle around Karen and her assistant and were led through a warm-up. Then we watched Karen’s demonstration of the movements and I was able to ask questions if I needed to. As we were doing our movements there was music playing in the background which set the pace, and I could watch Karen and her assistant doing the movements - which really helped me. I did not feel pressured to get the movements exactly right as we were encouraged to express ourselves through the movement and the music. We were introduced to several movements and then these movements were linked together. I particularly enjoyed a series of movements where we connected with other people in the group, sometimes by passing something real or imagined to them, or by our movements linking or expressing something to them.
At the end of each class, we have time for a cuppa and biscuits, and a chat with other participants and their Carers. When I reflect on the Dancing with Parkinson’s class it not only enables me to exercise and to try movements I haven’t done before, it enables me to socialise too. We even met up for a lunch in the summer which was lovely. I do not have Parkinson's however my Late Mother, who lived in Romford, was diagnosed with Early-onset Parkinson’s when she was 90 years old. She was having frequent falls, injuries, visits to A&E, and Hospital admissions. I spent hours driving, supporting her at health appointments, looking after her in A&E and on the wards when she was admitted. When professionals needed me to do something for my Mum, I was included in meetings, other than that I felt very much on my own. My Mum was under her local Falls Team and started attending a 6-10 weeks exercise class which she enjoyed, however Carer’s were not included. The Dancing with Parkinson's class includes Carers, which enables them to exercise if they wish to take part and to socialise with everyone who attends the class including other Carers – if only there had been a Dancing with Parkinson's class in Romford that my Mum and I could have attended. A huge thank you to the Dance Network Association for promoting inclusion for people with Parkinson’s and their Carers.
Written by Pam Peacock - Dancing With Parkinson's participant 2022