Katz JCC is cited for its Parkinson’s programs

It hosts wellness, fitness classes for those with Parkinson's Disease

There are five weekly programs offered free at JCC thanks to a grant received from the Parkinson’s Foundation. Shown are officials presenting the JCC with a proclamation that recognizes its Parkinson’s programs. (EMILY LIU/The Sun)

In celebration of April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month, county commissioners have issued a proclamation recognizing the Katz Jewish Community Center (JCC) for the wellness and fitness services it provides people with the illness through its Parkinson’s Connection program.

The Parkinson’s Connection includes both fitness classes and support groups for victims and caregivers. It has been in operation since 2018.

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“Our hope was to build a program that was as accessible as possible, accessible financially, accessible so you could take it in-house or at home, accessible where you could do it seated or standing or a little bit of both, so that it’s really available to anyone at any level at any kind of progression within that Parkinson’s spectrum,” explained JCC program coordinator Megan Matis.

“ … Every day with Parkinson’s is kind of a different day, so we wanted it to be one of those classes that you felt comfortable showing up to no matter where you were that day.”

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder that currently has no known cure or cause and no ways to prevent it. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, nearly one million people in the U.S. are living with the disease. About 90,000 people are diagnosed with the illness each year.

There are five weekly programs offered free at JCC thanks to a grant received from the Parkinson’s Foundation. They include a group therapy class, two in-person or virtual motivation classes, a rotating Saturday class and a virtual yoga program on Tuesdays. 

“Our flagship (program) is probably our Rock Steady Boxing, and that’s a really specialized program developed from the beginning to help people fighting Parkinson’s disease,” Matis noted.

That class does have a fee, but it addresses many issues people with Parkinson’s face, including stiffness and neurological issues. Instructors work on vocalization and getting the brain to do two things at the same time.

“It really is a special program,” Mathis said.

To learn more about the Parkinson’s programs offered at the Katz JCC, visit https://katzjcc.org/programs/parkinsons-programs/

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