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Monday, January 31, 2011

Book on swallowing in PD just for Caregivers

Our Nurse just passed on this resource for caregivers dealing with swallowing difficulties in PD and other medical conditions. I have not read this book yet but our center will be getting a copy soon. Has anybody else encountered this book yet?

Swallow Safely


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness

By now we have probably all heard of the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) effort to revise the DSM-IV to create the DSM-5. 

I came across a very interesting article on the internal battle currently going within the APA regarding this revision process and about the entire DSM system of diagnosing in general.  This is a must read for anyone diagnosing and/or working with patients/clients suffering from mental illness.  It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out in the next few years. 

Link:  "Inside the Battle to Define Mental Illness"


VA finalizes regulations to for Agent Orange and service in Korea.

Some more good news coming out of the VA for veterans who served in Korea from 1968 to 1971 and who were likely exposed to Agent Orange and who later develop Parkinson's disease.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Allied Team Training for Parkinson (ATTP)

The next Allied Team Training for Parkinson’s will be held in beautiful Chapel Hill, NC from March 9-12, 2011.

This is an excellent 4-day training on everything Parkinson's disease.  It is intended for professionals both somewhat experienced and new to the field of Parkinson's disease. This training is intended for SWs, PTs, OTs, SLPs, Music Therapists,etc, and is lead by experts in the field.  There is a targeted training just for the Social Worker as well.

I highly recommend this training to anyone working with Parkinson's disease.

Link to register:  Register Here for the ATTP


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baby Boomer Caregiver Use of Technologies and Social Media Increasing

"Is e-mail a good way to communicate with you?"  "Have you used Google before?"  "Are you familiar with navigating the Internet?" 

If you are like me, you have asked similar questions of your patients and their care-partners. Increasingly, I rely on the Internet to find, locate, and print materials for families when helping them get connected to resources. An area of interest of mine is harnassing the power of the Internet and Social Media in the field of Social Work to better serve our patients. This last year, our center has also become more involved in utilizing social media to provide some outreach and education to our patients and families. Given that we serve a mostly older population, I have often wondered what percentage of our patient and care-partner population make use of the Internet, e-mail, and Social Media to obtain information or help them select resources.

I know when I ask my patients and care-partners the above questions, most seem to have an e-mail address and feel comfortable using it, but I cannot comfortably say the same about their responses to the Google and Internet questions. Generally speaking, I find the older the patient, the less likely they will feel comfortable utilizing the Internet, Social Media or e-mail to communicate or obtain information about resources. Given that our society is so heavily dependent on the Internet and social media (and growing more so everday) I think Social Workers provide an increasingly vital link to these e-sources of information for our patients and their care-partners. 

On January 10th two studies were released that looked at Baby Boomer caregivers and their use of social media and the internet.  The studies reveal some pretty interesting data. For instance, when looking at Internet usage by care-partners one of the studies revealed that "70% reported having used the Internet for caregiving related information or support..." I would not have guessed this number to be so high. 

Here is the link to the article that discusses the two studies:  Caregiver use of technology

I believe Social Workers can play a very important role in helping our patients and their care-partners make use of the Internet and other technologies. One thing that comes to mind is to offer a "Navigating the Internet" course for our patient and care-partner populations. I have also considered creating a website set up specifically for caregivers that is a "one-stop shop" for Parkinson's disease/caregiver-related resources.

I would love to hear from any other social workers and mental health professionals about what you are doing in this area for your patient and care-partner populations.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Light Therapy for Older Adults

Researchers have found more supportive evidence for light therapy as an effective treatment in not only Seasonal Affective Disorder in older adults, but depression as well.

Light Therapy


Friday, January 7, 2011

Bikes used to diagnoses type of Parkinsonism?

Riding bicycles is near and dear to my heart so I was immediately interested in this article about some research being done with Parkinsonian patients who ride bicycle.  The researchers are looking at Parkinsonian patients' without a definitive diagnosis and their ability to ride a bicycle (or not) as a helpful diagnostic factor to determine if patients have iPD or PD+, or other type of PD.

Link:  Bikes to help in diagnosing PD