Senior Living on the Suncoast

Parkinson Place

September 14, 2020 Steve Bennet-Martin, Alix Redmonde Season 2 Episode 28
Senior Living on the Suncoast
Parkinson Place
Chapters
Senior Living on the Suncoast
Parkinson Place
Sep 14, 2020 Season 2 Episode 28
Steve Bennet-Martin, Alix Redmonde

Steve interviews CEO of Parkinson Place, Alix Redmonde, on the resources Parkinson Place provides not only the Suncoast, but now the entire world. 

As Mentioned:
Parkinson Place
www.parkinsonplace.org
941-893-4188
Susan- Ext 106
https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonplacesarasota
Events: https://parkinsonplace.org/calendar/

Sunset Yoga 9/17 at 6:45 on Siesta Key- $20 tickets go to help underprivileged seniors.

Heartis' Taste of Thailand- 9/23 for caregivers and seniors, 9/24 for professionals- call 941-499-1800 or email [email protected] to RSVP


Support the show (http://www.patreon.com/happylifepod)

Show Notes Transcript

Steve interviews CEO of Parkinson Place, Alix Redmonde, on the resources Parkinson Place provides not only the Suncoast, but now the entire world. 

As Mentioned:
Parkinson Place
www.parkinsonplace.org
941-893-4188
Susan- Ext 106
https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonplacesarasota
Events: https://parkinsonplace.org/calendar/

Sunset Yoga 9/17 at 6:45 on Siesta Key- $20 tickets go to help underprivileged seniors.

Heartis' Taste of Thailand- 9/23 for caregivers and seniors, 9/24 for professionals- call 941-499-1800 or email [email protected] to RSVP


Support the show (http://www.patreon.com/happylifepod)

Steve:

Hello there, everyone. And welcome to senior living on the Suncoast. I'm your host, Steve Bennet-Martin. And I'm happy to bring you the only senior centered podcast to assist us all. As we navigate the complex systems of aging together, up and down, the Suncoast to Florida. My mission with this podcast is to help make sure that the rest of your life is the best of your life, which means today we'll be talking about Parkinson place. Our guest expert, Alix Redmonde is the CEO of Parkinson place. She is a native Los Angeleno who has lived in five countries and speaks three languages. Wearing her passion for people on her sleeve. Alix brings more than 30 years of fundraising experience to Parkinson place, including serving as regional chair of the new York's work out for hope benefiting the city of Hope's Beckman research Institute. She's an award winning journalist and familiar face. Local news. You also might have. I have watched her as the health and medical journalist. On WW, SB, ABC seven as producer and host of SNS, local doctors on call and fitness video blogger at the Sarasota Herald Tribune. Welcome to the show,

Alix:

Alix. Thank you, Steve. I'm thrilled to be here and glad to be able to get information out for your audience today about Parkinson's disease and Parkinson plate.

Steve:

Yes. Wonderful. And seeing us how your, your introduction was quite long winded with a lot of information. Why don't you just tell us a little bit more about yourself in general and how you found yourself working with seniors at Parkinson place?

Alix:

What's the difference? Pretty amazing. I was a health and medical journalist with FDN with, ABC seven here in Sarasota. And that was more than four and a half years worth of interviewing different people. And when I would try to find people living with Parkinson's disease and or neurologist, it was a little challenging because the gatekeeper of the neurologist office never want them really talk on camera. It was very challenging. And so. Found Larry Hofheimer just through chance by doing a search on Parkinson's disease. And it came up briefings for Parkinson's disease right here in Sarasota Parkinson's place. So I called Larry Hofheimer he's the founder and CEO. Of this wonderful, wonderful 11,000 square foot facility where everything's free for people with Parkinson's and he had a medical director and you also the work with, ahead of the site, the psychology clinic of Parkinson place. So he always would. Find me a medical expert to speak to, and also people living with Parkinson's disease that could share their information and offer hope about all of these wonderful resources for people with Parkinson's. So through the years, whenever I got a note from one of the clinics or one of the medical offices from neurologists, I would just circle back around and Larry would say to me, Even if you don't put park in some place in the story, that information is so important for people. That's how I found Parkinson play. Yeah.

Steve:

And I've worked with them before, through previous jobs and it's a wonderful organization. So for our audience that might not be as familiar. How do you define what Parkinson place is?

Alix:

Well, I will tell you what it was and what it is now. Parkinson play is an 11,000 square foot facility, right near doctors hospital. It is at B Ridge and cattleman on cattle Ridge, near the tax office. And everything we do here is free. We have everything from Fox and cloth is voice therapy, exercise classes, dancing. Everything and feminazis with experts, the top experts in their field. In fact, we're the first to have, doctor, DB. We some deep, did a wonderful, he wrote the book living with Parkinson's disease. He did a wonderful thing seminar for us and not on our website. So we have all of these amazing resources and. There's never a charge. The only thing we ever charged for a fundraisers and we rely solely on donations from. Our community and people don't know this. I would say that's one of our most challenging things is to let people know that we are an amazing resource. That is what we were, it was a destination for people with Parkinson's disease. And we have people come with their loved ones, their families. Spouses caregivers, families. They would come to Sarasota as a destination, almost like medical tourism, but we're not a clinic. We really are here to give people a better life, a wonderful experience with others going through the same thing. And what would happen is people would come to Sarasota and then they would stay a few months. So they would stay for the season and go back wherever they lived. And the people that were here year round, we continued with our classes. It would just stand out a little bit now. Since the pandemic, all that has changed because we, we are virtual. Now we are online and I would say, we're the number one resource. We are the best resource for people living with Parkinson's disease, anywhere in this country. We have more than 65 monthly classes that are a variety of things across the board, including peer groups for people living with Parkinson's, where they can go into a private chat room online and share intimate information. And the men can go into the men's group. The women could go into the women's group and we're working on more diversity for that as well, so that we can have check groups to make everybody feel comfortable.

Steve:

Yes. Wonderful. And I mean, I, it's good to hear that, you know, a lot of these places that have gone virtual are still kind of limited getting it or encouraging it to be just their target audience like locally. And so it's great that you're opening it up to the entire country and I'm sure that that's helped increase the participation as well during this time.

Alix:

We've we've actually, our membership has more than doubled since we, since we have gone virtual and doing zoom classes, we had people outside of Parkinson place that worked for other organizations that said, Oh, you know, people will never be able to do that. And I said, watch us, watch us just. Every single person that we have reached out to. And at that time we had 1400 members. Now we are just skyrocketing. So now we don't just have people in Sarah's soda, those snowbirds that used to be leave and have to say a tearful goodbye to all their friends are now joining us from Philadelphia. Austin. We have people from Egypt. I mean, it goes beyond our country. We just got our first member from Ireland and we have people in the UK. We have an instructor that's starting with us from the UK who is a world-class presenter. And it's taught people living with Parkinson's before. So she, we're just thrilled to be able to reach out far and wide now.

Steve:

Yeah, that's impressive. I always think it's funny. Whenever I look at my podcast statistics cause this, you know, while it's resources for anyone and people could listen to anywhere and benefit from it, a lot of it is focused on like events and news locally. And one of, one of my listeners is from France and I see like every week they download the episode and they listen. So, you know,

Alix:

hello,

Steve:

hello, listener and France. Yeah, it's interesting how things like this can spread. And so that that's good to hear. And before we get into more specifics about Parkinson place as a little icebreaker, what's been keeping you happy recently.

Alix:

Oh, my gosh, the thing that really lights up my life, I actually ditched my six inch heels and I put on sneakers twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1130 to teach an exercise class. That's a total body workout for our members who have become my family, my extended family. I have an only child. I have no living relatives. And at least no, no, immediate family and the extended families in England. And I haven't spoken to them for years. So when I go onto zoom and I see all of my friends on there showing me what can be done every single day, these guys show up and they do the work and they leave feeling better than when they came in. It just, it lights up my heart. It really does. The other thing. Is that my, my boss, Larry Hofheimer has assured each and every one of us to also let our members know that we are still going to reopen in our brick and mortar building. We are, we are actually all working out of this, but there's only seven employees here and they're not all Parkinson place, but we all have our own independent offices. But. God bless him. He has let us know that all of our jobs are safe, which is a wonderful thing. And this pandemic, when there's so many things that are uncertain, but not only that, he has allowed me to teach three spinning classes a week for the staff to keep the staff's morale up. So our team, while everybody else is putting on the quarantine 15,

Steve:

yes, I was gonna say, I've done that for sure.

Alix:

It's amazing. We have people here that are in better shape than pre pandemic that have decided to empower themselves and show up to the three classes a week. So I'm teaching three a week for our team two for our members, and I'm averaging 38 people in my fitness class. I record it every single week, 38 members in the, in the member class. It's unbelievable. Membership is just through the roof.

Steve:

That is fantastic. I oftentimes see, especially like, you know, seniors in the community that are so much more in shape than me and it should get me off the couch, but I'm working on it now, now that I'm back in working in a community, like in an office again, I'm getting out. But when I was just working from home for awhile, that's when the COVID 15 pounded on.

Alix:

Challenge. It definitely is a challenge. Definitely, but our members have been great.

Steve:

Yeah. And we are for the audience and listeners who might be listening to this later on, we are recording this on Monday, September 14th of 2020, when it will come out. And for those of you following the news, you might have already heard, but governor DeSantis has lifted the visitation ban for assisted living facilities and sniffs that have been a hundred percent COVID free for two or more weeks. And so I know that that's great news. I mean, I'm sure this is possibly even affected a lot of the people involved in Parkinson place. Has it?

Alix:

some, I would say that for the most part, our members have done incredibly well at taking care of themselves to try to avoid having to go into a nursing home or an assisted living facility. And they go to their doctor's visits only when they have to our medical director is. Is doing, is online. So he's able to do telemedicine, understanding that, you know, people that already have Parkinson's disease want to make sure that they stay as healthy as possible. So people have been pretty strict about trying to stay away from groups of people, including going to medical offices. But I'm sorry so far so good. You know, we're just hopeful that we can get back to some semblance of the. Normalcy. I think it's going to be a while though, until we get right back to it, which is why the online is so very important because we allow people to connect. We empower them to connect after the class. We'll very often leave, open it up for the grid view or the audience view. So people can see each other and say hi to each other. And it's an amazing thing. I have some great videos and I'll probably put something together.

Steve:

Yes. And for professionals in the area who are looking for us, Safe social distance way to network. as well as anyone in the community, you want it to come out and participate. We are doing a fundraiser for the Sarasota County senior advocacy council. This Thursday evening, the 17th on siesta key beach at six 45. We are doing yoga on the beach, sunset yoga. And for that tickets are $20 that go a hundred percent towards the senior advocacy council, which helps give money back to our areas under privileged seniors. So definitely check that out if anyone's interested in some yoga and in wednesday, the 23rd and Thursday, the 24th at my job, hardest seniors living. We are going to be having the taste of Heartis event with the theme of Thailand. And so in our welcome center, just around the corner from the community where the construction is almost completed, we are going to be okay. Doing a virtual tour of our community from the office, as well as kind of giving you a taste of what our culture will be like when we open. So definitely give us a call. I will add our website and our phone number to the show notes because we are still doing that by appointments and time blocks to be socially distant as well. And Alix, do you have any events or news coming up that you'd like to share with your audience?

Alix:

Yes, Steve. I would be happy to actually, we have on the 17th, if someone has a hard time hearing it, remember everything's free. They can just go to Parkinson, place.org, that's Parkinson, place.org, and they can click on our calendar. Once they sign up, signing up is free and take everything that we offer free. So we have September 17th, we have make it clear, which is the impact of hearing loss. September 23rd, we have an exclusive film premiere called Parkinson's third wind by director Peter Barton, who studied with Martin Scorsese. He came, he was a, he went to school at the same time. So he's a wonderful, wonderful director. And two of our members are in this beautiful short documentary. So that's on. September 23rd at 4:00 PM. That's a Wednesday, September 24th. We have learned to zoom like a pro, which is the basics of Zillow for people that have been disconnected are a little computer or technologically phobic. This is a perfect class for you. We have these guys, I'm just showing you the basics of zooming. And then we have world renowned, dr. Michael Oakland. dr. Ochen is, is going to give an exclusive webinar for Parkinson place members, family and friends, September the 30th. And he was a coauthor in the book living with Parkinson's disease. We have dr. D already, did our webinar last week. So people can just go online and watch it at their own pace. And then we have our classes, which people can either take the classes [email protected] And we, we add to that every single week, or they can go for the classes the week of nine 14. We just have so many classes. We have more than a year. It doesn't classes this week. I think there's like, Yeah,

Steve:

you guys always have so much going on. So I will be sure to put the link to your, like, not only the website, but also the calendar specifically in the show notes. So it'll be easier for people to scroll and click over.

Alix:

Oh, fantastic. And we also have a Facebook page. That's very active with a men's group. the men could log on through that page and they have their own chat group page. And we're creating one for the women as well now.

Steve:

Yes. And I will link over to that as well. Now, looking forward to, when you go back onsite, walk us through what people can expect when they visit, maybe for like the first

Alix:

time. Well for the first time, obviously we're going to be, we're going to absolutely be observing CDC and, other guidelines, right? Medical professionals and science fact and research based to ensure that our members come into a very safe environment. It will be socially distance. And we also have. Taken the steps to make sure that the room is beautiful. We've even repainted. It's got a fresh coat of like white paint. It looks beautiful. We're hanging new artwork and we have a fleet of 13 brand new state of the art. Commercial spinning bikes from, from spinning. I, I used to take classes with Johnny G way back when, before I started teaching it, the guy that invented it. So we went right to the company that first started it and we bought these ones. Beautiful news, spinning bikes, and they are just the most stable bikes that you can get. You can't pull them over. They are rock solid and we're going to have those classes back up. And we have enough room. I mean, our, our room is like thousands of square feet. So there is no problem doing social distancing. And there, we just might have to add a few more classes so that people can come in and then exit and another group can come in, but that's what we're planning on doing. Yeah,

Steve:

I know that I'm looking forward to it as everyone else in the community. I'm sure. I mean, I can easily speak to the, you have more than enough room for social distancing. Cause I've been there for luncheons providing education when there was maybe 50 people and we were only using maybe like the third middle part of the room and there was so much space that was not even used. So there's definitely room to grow.

Alix:

And we will also have cameras up so that people can take us on zoom in real time if they can't make it and see, a lot of people have think of the pandemic, the, the, as. Making people disconnect. And we decided to try to look at it in a different way and use it to empower our members to connect when they normally would not have been able to. And as a result, we have twice the amount of people that are now participating in the classes than we did before. It's, it's pretty, it's just kind of amazing. And. Bewildering, but we're incredibly happy about it, but, but I would say our biggest need, because we, we haven't done anything to fundraise. We are a small. Organization, when it comes to the amount of people working here and we had to shelf our biggest fundraiser, which was going to be polo for Parkinson's. We had to postpone that until it's safe to hold it again. And we also were going to do a large fundraiser at the end of the year, which obviously we're not going to be able to do now. So that was the way that we had raised money locally. And I would say that people have no idea, but we rely on. Donors from within the community. So whether people want to sponsor us for $19 a month or is some wonderful person out there believed in what we were doing and wanted to make sure that we did had an endowment, we would be able to, to run this place and even open another place. I mean, we could franchise in the Northeast and we would absolutely love that. So people could stay where they are. That's our biggest dream. I'd be happy to move for six months to set somebody up.

Steve:

I was gonna

Alix:

say,

Steve:

and if our listeners right now are like looking to grab their, their credit cards of their checkbooks, what would be the best way to help donate or help give back.

Alix:

Thank you for that, Steven. Yeah, absolutely. They can go to Parkinson place. That's P a R K I N S. So in place. Dot O R G and there is a button right there to donate, so they can go ahead and do that. Or they can just go ahead and, they can even go onto our Facebook page as well, but we'd rather people go ahead and donate online or they can call eight nine three four one eight eight.

Steve:

That's a nine four one

Alix:

number. Correct. Eight nine three four one eight eight.

Steve:

And I'm assuming that most of these would also be the same way that if someone, you know, who is caring for has the Parkinson diagnosis wanted to get assistance, they can also call you and go on the same website, correct?

Alix:

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Steve:

And especially with no cost, if you have an interest or, you know, in the Parkinson place, you know, why not join?

Alix:

There is never a charge any time for anything other than if we do fundraisers. So, basically if they call here, the film will either be answered by. Buy it or Susan Bellisi, who's our program director who, by the way, moved here with her husband. Who's been living with Parkinson's disease. He has young onset. She moved here after she came here for a vacation because she typed in free things for Parkinson's. She moved here from Queens. Wow in the Northeast. And after she came here, she went back, sold their home. There, bought a home online here, moved here, and she's now our program director. So if you really want somebody that is in it, Susan. Cares. So very deeply and knows firsthand what it is like to be living with someone that you love with Parkinson's disease. So she puts her heart and soul into the programming and does a phenomenal job. So she would answer the phone. So again, that number is (941) 893-4188. And her extension is one Oh six in case. Yeah, in case anybody wants some information. She's great. She, we refer people, you know, we'll give them choices in different places that can help them. We are such a great resource.

Steve:

Yes, you certainly are. And for the healthcare professionals that occasionally listen to this podcast as well, what are some ways that they can get involved or partner that could also help their business? Cause I know firsthand I've sponsored lunches, where I came in and talked for the company I was working for. Providing education. It was not salesy, but you know, the people were very receptive and then would call me if they needed that help down the road. So how is someone getting, like, get set up with that and what kind of options

Alix:

do they have? Oh, absolutely. Well, if they have something that's going to benefit somebody living with Parkinson's disease specifically, and, or one of those comorbidities and or if it's geared towards caregiving for someone with Parkinson's disease, they can come in and present and they will have to go through Susan Bellisi for that. So her again, her number is (941) 893-4188, extension one Oh six. Okay. We would love to have anybody that can give information to make the lives of someone living with Parkinson's better. Yeah. We're we're all in for that. Absolutely. They can do that and they can present on zoom. And again, we do have a very large zoom audience and, and then we do webinars for ours, for our zoom presenters now. And then if they wanted to do like the zoom regular, they can answer questions afterwards where people can raise the virtual hand or raise their hand. Yeah. And, so that's one of the ways. And then the other way that they can really help us is to contact us so that we can put our literature in their medical offices. So people know about us. There is not one person out there with Parkinson's or a caregiver that should not know that we are there to help them. And it's free. Yep.

Steve:

I could not agree more. And before we close out, I always like to ask all of my guests, what is one piece of advice you would give to a new caregiver?

Alix:

The one piece of advice that I would give to a new caregiver is I think it's twofold. One is, one is you are not alone. Call Susan Bellisi at Parkinson place (941) 893-4188, extension one Oh six because Susan lives the life and she can help you. The other thing that I would say is there is hope. There is hope and there is light. You will absolutely be empowered by surrounding yourself with other people. That can give you advice and help you maneuver what may be a challenging time of your life, but they can make it better.

Steve:

Yes, that is fabulous. And thank you so much for those bits of advice, as well as for joining us for this episode, Alix, it's been a pleasure. And for listeners, if you'd like more information on this podcast, please make sure that you subscribe. So you get our new episodes. Every Monday. We also have our own Facebook page, which I will link to in the show notes as well as our website, www dot happy life, pod.com. That is also the way you can email me via email for any questions, feedback, or requests for future topics or discussions that is happy. Life [email protected] Thank you again, Alix so much for your

Alix:

time. Thank you

Steve:

and listeners. Have a great day and stay happy.