Q: Do I have to pay dues or make an appointment to attend a meeting?
A: There is no charge for any support group meeting, but you may be asked to donate a dollar or two to defray the costs of mailing notices, buying refreshments, etc. It is always good to call the support group facilitator before attending for the first time to understand where and when the meeting will take place.
Q: Is the support group only for people with Parkinson’s?
A: Parkinson’s Disease affects everybody associated with the patient – spouse, family, relatives, and friends. The most valuable thing you will take away from a meeting is knowledge. It is helpful for everyone involved to receive and understand information about Parkinson’s. Everyone is welcome.
Q: I’m afraid to attend because of the way some patients may look.
A: People are concerned they will see long-term patients who are disabled. Parkinson’s is a very individual disease in that its progress and impact are impossible to predict. No two people will have the same symptoms or respond in the same way to medication. Attend at least ONE support group meeting before deciding it is not for you.
Q: My father is in denial and refuses to attend a meeting.
A: Do not force anyone to attend. A concerned family member or friend is welcome to attend to learn about Parkinson’s and bring that information back to the patient. Many support groups have libraries of books and video tapes on specific topics. Once the family member or friend sees how a support group works, he can explain that to the patient. Not everyone will feel comfortable about support groups, but they need to know how they can benefit.