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Featured Business: Charlotte King-Mills of the Parkinson’s Association

CKingMillsWe are thrilled to feature our second interview for July on the Parkinson’s Association to help build awareness and support to those in our community who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

For this interview, we talked with the Director of Education Charlotte King-Mills, whom Grace Care has known as the friendly face behind many of the local San Diego educational events and programs.  She has a true passion and calling for her work and it shows immediately upon meeting her. Charlotte has welcomed us with open arms into the Parkinson’s Association community and we are glad to be a part of the wonderful educational events and programs that she leads.

Charlotte King-Mills has been with the Parkinson’s Association since June of 2011. In her role as Director of Education, she is responsible for developing educational content, organizing client information and referrals, managing the Association’s library and engaging community members in conversations on living well with Parkinson’s. Her professional background is in adult education and public programming and she has a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Sciences.

Can you tell us about some of the education programs that Parkinson’s Association offers to the public and how one can take advantage of them?

The Parkinson’s Association offers a number of education programs and resources to the Southern California Parkinson’s community. Our education programs include workshops for those newly diagnosed, and a financial and legal wellbeing series to help families faced with a Parkinson’s diagnosis deal confidently with their financial future. We also have a library circulating material on Parkinson’s and caregiving, information and referrals for the entire Southern California region.

With the recent changes following the Jimmo verses Sebelius trial, extending therapy for Parkinson’s patients who need ongoing disease management, do you have any plans in the works to help educate on how to advocate for the extended therapy benefit?

Given the fact that Parkinson’s is chronic and progressive, it’s so very important that people with Parkinson’s receive extended therapy. We work very closely with the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) whose State Director for Southern California, Sarah King, is on our Board. PAN helps develop policy on issues affecting the Parkinson’s community, educating the public on the disease and empowering people with Parkinson’s.

We know you are a supporter of the Parkinson Association’s Tremble Clefs and Dance Program. Can you tell us more about this program and for whom this group performs for?

The Tremble Clefs is an amazing group of people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers who come together once weekly to sing, socialize and support one another. The therapeutic singing program was founded in 1994 by Karen Hesley in Phoenix, Arizona. Karen brought the program to San Diego in 2001 and is still leading one of our groups.

Our Simple Movement Dance class provides exercise, mental stimulation, conscious use of the senses and social interaction in a joyful activity. The class incorporates exercise with music, assisting participants in moving to rhythm, beat, melody and mood. They meet at the La Jolla YMCA but are currently on summer break.

The Parkinson’s Association offers many types of family services and support groups. Can you give us a brief summary of what type of support is available to family or caregivers in particular?

Our Minds & Motion behavioral health services program offers individual, couples, family and group therapy for persons with Parkinson’s, their care-partners and families. The Parkinson’s Association’s therapeutic services specialize in treating people affected by neurodegenerative disorders and are designed to help persons with Parkinson’s and their care-partners learn strategies for navigating the personal challenges that can accompany the condition.

Are there any upcoming events that Parkinson’s Association has in 2014 you’d like to share with us?

Yes! We have many exciting upcoming events including our Los Angeles Walk taking place in Santa Monica on September 14th. Visit our website for more information at http://www.parkinsonsassociation.org/.

We offer free educational workshops and trainings regularly to the community. Anyone interested, should call us or send an email to me at cking@parkinsonsassociation.org.

Where is the best place to start for someone who has recently been diagnosed, or a family member, who wants to find out more information on what support is available to them through the Parkinson’s Association?

The best place to start is to attend one of the Good Start workshops. Held monthly, these classes are designed specifically for those who are newly diagnosed. We also offer a support group for those who are newly diagnosed as well.

I would also suggest they reach out to us via phone to learn more about our clinical counseling. Often the emotional aspects of living with a chronic illness can be the most difficult. Counseling is such a great way for people to face those challenges.

The Parkinson’s Association of San Diego can be reached by calling (858) 273-6763.

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