GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Parkinson’s disease, like many other illnesses, impacts more than just the patient themselves. 

That’s why Aurora BayCare provides personalized care like the Mobile and Fit class for Parkinson’s patients and a Parkinson’s support group for patients and their caregivers.

“It’s good to see the range of what’s out there, that you’re not the only one that has problems and people are managing even though they have a disease,” said Steve Drake, a Parkinson’s patient who’s been going to Mobile and Fit classes for the past five years.

Drake takes his Parkinson’s diagnosis in stride.  He refers to it as an “annoyance” but not something that’s going to stop him from living his life.

“When the doctor diagnosed me I told him I didn’t like his diagnosis,” Drake explained with a grin. “He said, ‘Do you want a second opinion?’  I said, ‘I don’t disagree, I just don’t like it.’”

Part of Drake’s life now is attending Mobile and Fit classes for Parkinson’s patients at Aurora BayCare.

“To walk better, to have less falls, to feel better,” explained personal trainer, Natasha Dorsey.

Dorsey has been teaching the Mobile and Fit class at Aurora BayCare for the past eight years.

“It’s about improving the overall quality of life for Parkinson’s patients,” Dorey said. “Their goal is to move better and who doesn’t want to move better?”

Dorsey says it’s not just Parkinson’s patients who need extra support as the disease progresses.

“When you ‘re taking care of somebody, you have to take care of yourself too,” she explained. “You want to learn how you can be a better caregiver and better understand what they were diagnosed with.”

That’s where the Parkinson’s Support Group comes in 

“Coming to these support groups and being able to understand that, a caregiver gets a whole new perspective on the disease and understands their loved one even more,” said Dorsey.

For Drake, who’s not even a patient at Aurora BayCare, the opportunity to attend group classes rather than having to pay for individual therapy is invaluable.

“It’s practically free,” Drake said. “It’s a real gift from Aurora BayCare.”

…and it’s allowing him to go on living his life.

“I’ve got a foursome that’s been going to Myrtle Beach in the spring for about 10 years now,” Drake said, describing his last trip. “We played 18 holes three times and nine holes once.”

Making the necessary adjustments… 

“On my way back from Myrtle Beach in the airport in Minneapolis it took me two tries to get out of the chair,” Drake explained. “My knees hurt for three days after sitting so long in the cramped plane. It was worse than the golf!” he chuckled.

…and keeping everything in perspective.

“You build friendships in the {Mobile and Fit} group,” he said. “That’s important.”

Aurora BayCare is the only healthcare system in the Green Bay area to offer this type of group exercise class for Parkinson’s patients.

If you’d like more information, go to aurorabaycare.com or use their LiveWell app. You can always just give them a call too: 1-866-938-0035 or email: healthwatch@aurorabaycare.com