Pictured: Marge Kinder, Physical Therapist and Get Up and Go! Coordinator; Barry Wright, participant.

Rome, GA — Redmond Regional Medical Center Outpatient Rehabilitation at 2112 Shorter Avenue, is giving individuals with Parkinson’s a second chance at being able to participate in the daily life activities they love. Get Up and Go! is a program designed specifically for those with Parkinson’s, a chronic, progressive neurological disease that affects nearly 1 million people in the United States. Get Up and Go! Is designed to improve the quality of life of individuals with Parkinson’s through an exercise-based fitness curriculum built upon the most current research on the disease.

“The program utilizes disease-specific, neuroplasticity-centered, research based principles that are directed at slowing disease progression, improving symptoms, restoring function and increasing longevity and quality of life,” said Marge Kinder, Redmond Physical Therapist and Parkinson’s Rehab Coordinator. “People with Parkinson’s can get better and prolong function with the right kind of exercise. We are here to be their coach and support them in their fight against Parkinson’s disease and help them reach their full potential.”

Kinder leads Get Up and Go!, Redmond’s comprehensive program for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease that includes one-on-one therapy and/or group classes.  The one-on-one therapy is provided by a physical therapist with specific training in Parkinson’s and addresses the specific needs of the individual.  These individualized sessions are designed to help the person reach their maximum potential. The group classes are designed to help individuals with Parkinson’s maintain their level of function and meet their need for the right kind of daily exercise and engagement. According to Kinder, “Even at various stages in the person’s disease, they can still make gains with the right intervention.”

Participants are seeing substantial progress in their daily life activities due to Get Up and Go! classes.  Individuals have noted physical as well as mental and emotional benefits.  Gail Wilkes has attended classes three times per week for the past 2 ½ years and from her experience says that she feels like a weight has been lifted from her emotionally.

“When I started out, I could barely talk and was ready to quit the choir, which I was told is the worst thing to do. I was extremely depressed,” said Wilkes. “I talk now, but sometimes it’s still gravely. This program allowed me to stay with the choir at my church. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people and have made good friends. You don’t know how much you’re helped [by the program] on a day-to-day basis. I attribute that all to Marge, this program, and the exercise in this program.”

Emory Gilmer has been attending the Get Up and Go! classes for three years and says that his participation in the program has enabled him to return to one of his favorite activities, playing golf. “I wasn’t able to play golf regularly anymore before getting into this program,” said Gilmer. “I’d just GO to the golf course - let’s say that. Now, how often I play depends on the weather. Lately I haven’t been able to play much, but when the weather is nice, I try to play golf once a week with a group of friends.” 

Contrary to popular belief, rehabilitation services do more than physical exercises. Kinder also believes in the holistic improvement and health of individuals in the program.

Barry Wright has only been attending classes for a few months but already sees the mental benefits of the program. “We have to do brain exercises, too, like; we have to count backwards from 100 by eight’s. That way, it keeps our mind working and allows the brain to make new pathways.”

Others have seen a significant improvement in their balance and coordination, which is often taken for granted in being able to complete daily life activities.  According to Kinder, reduced balance and coordination are among the most common symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Eugene Minshew has been attending Get Up and Go! classes for a year.  Prior to beginning the program, he had experienced the negative impact of reduced balance and coordination.  “With Parkinson’s, the worst thing about it is that it takes your balance,” said Minshew. “I had fallen a couple times. Things you take for granted, like buttoning your shirt, are a lot easier now that I’ve had help from this program. I still take longer to get ready than my wife, though.”

Teresa Pelfrey has only been attending Get Up and Go! classes for a few months but has already experienced improvement in her balance. “I was having trouble standing before taking these classes,” said Pelfrey. “I would fall backwards.  It was scary.  But now, I swing my arm again when I walk.  I’m not as conscious of the possibility of falling.”

The individuals participating in the program shared messages of recommendation for the program. But most importantly, they shared messages of encouragement for those who are afflicted by Parkinson’s disease.

Charles Williams, a Get Up and Go! program participant for the past three years, shared his message of encouragement.  “I would recommend this program highly and I’d do my best to persuade people to come, even though the program isn’t easy,” said Williams. “Parkinson’s—there’s no cure for it. But this program helps slow the process of the disease.”

Consistency is key when it comes to experiencing results according to Sandra Brown, who has been attending Get Up and Go! classes regularly for the past year and a half. “It makes a big difference to keep going and to keep doing what you’re doing,” said Brown. “It’s harder if you skip a day, mentally and physically. It’s encouraging to see that you can do something that you couldn’t do in the past. If you keep going to classes, you will get better and you will see progress. Be completely in the program, and you will be able to tell a big difference.”

Barry Wright summed up his personal experience and positive impact of the Get Up and Go! program and therapy team. “They make me feel like I can get over this,” said Wright. “They’re all good people. They give me hope.”

Redmond Regional Medical Center is a 230 bed facility, serving as a regional referral source for all of northwest Georgia and parts of Alabama.  Redmond offers a full array of inpatient and outpatient programs, many of which are unique to the northwest Georgia region. As an Accredited Chest Pain Center with PCI, Redmond provides a full service cardiology product line and is nationally recognized as a top cardiac care center.  In addition to the Gold Seal of Approval®, Redmond has also earned eight disease specific certifications from The Joint Commission for outstanding care in the areas of cardiology, stroke, orthopedic surgery, spinal surgery, and vascular surgery.  Other areas of excellence include emergency care, oncology, and inpatient rehabilitation.  For additional information on Redmond Regional Medical Center, visit www.RedmondRegional.com.