The Benchmark community is made up of people and organizations that dedicate their work to bettering the community, and we are very excited to highlight Parkinson Canada in this month’s Community Spotlight.
Parkinson Canada works tirelessly to support the 100,000+ Canadians living with Parkinson’s every day through raising awareness and funds for critical research and advocating for those with Parkinson’s to raise their voices while searching for a cure.
As the national voice for those living with Parkinson’s, COVID-19 provided Parkinson Canada with an opportunity to innovate and find new ways to connect those living with Parkinson’s across the country and have fostered a greater sense of community through their online support groups as a result.
Parkinson Canada is a support system for not only those with Parkinson’s but their family and care partners as well. Through helplines and support groups, Parkinson Canada takes a holistic approach to their programs that show Canadians living with Parkinson’s that they are here as both a support group and a network of healthcare professionals dedicated to finding more treatments, better diagnostics, and ultimately a cure for Parkinson’s.
Canada has one of the highest prevalence rates of Parkinson’s, per capita, in the world and we admire Parkinson Canada for all the work they do to provide a better life for people living with Parkinson’s today and to see a world without Parkinson’s tomorrow.
Check out the full interview below:
- Tell us about Parkinson Canada and what you do?
Our mission is to transform the lives of people living with Parkinson’s. Parkinson Canada provides information and support, funds critical research, and increases awareness and advocates for improved healthcare outcomes for the 100,000+ people living with Parkinson’s across Canada.
Canada has one of the highest prevalence rates of Parkinson’s, per capita, in the world. In the next ten years, the number of Canadians diagnosed with Parkinson’s will double. Every year, Parkinson Canada’s programs and services reach nearly 10,000 Canadians living with Parkinson’s and their care partners. We bring together researchers to cultivate and support the most cutting-edge science.
Our advocacy work focuses on raising the voices of people impacted by Parkinson’s. We recently published a National Roundtable Report that speaks to the gaps in healthcare provider education, care coordination, and access to care and treatments. The Report has laid the foundation for an advocacy plan to improve health care delivery for Canadians with Parkinson’s from coast to coast to coast.
Read the National Roundtable Report to learn more about Parkinson Canada’s advocacy efforts.
- What are the primary goals of the organization?
People living with Parkinson’s are at the centre of everything we do at Parkinson Canada. We are on a mission to provide a better life for people living with Parkinson’s today, and to see a world without Parkinson’s tomorrow.
While funding research for a cure, better diagnostic tools, and more treatments, we also have our sights set on improving the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s no matter where they are in their journey. Because we know it takes a holistic approach to care achieve that, we strive to be the organization that not only people with Parkinson’s turn to for support, but also their care partners and families, as well as healthcare professionals and researchers, too.
- What have been the biggest impacts/outcomes on the community you serve?
Parkinson Canada is the national voice for people living with Parkinson’s.
Through our programs and services for those living with Parkinson’s, as well as their family and care partners, we have been a support system as they journey through a life where Parkinson’s is ever-present. We’ve been providing trusted information through our Information and Referral helpline, webinars, and blog, offering community-based support groups, wellness resources, and are increasing revenue to level up more financial resources for research programs.
Every year we publish our Impact Report to show our donors and stakeholders how their contributions helped transform the daily lives of Canadians living with Parkinson’s. From research initiatives, to programs and services, to advocacy, here are Parkinson Canada’s results for 2020, thanks to the generosity of our supporters.
- What are some of the biggest challenges Parkinson Canada has had to overcome?
The biggest challenges we have had to overcome have been in the past 2.5 years. With the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, our organization has been faced with keeping our goals to support the Parkinson’s community during a very turbulent time. This has affected employees, individuals, families and of course, business. Parkinson Canada has met this pandemic and its residual consequences with an attitude of change.
We saw this as an opportunity to redefine who we are and how we work to create a pathway of change and innovation. We committed ourselves to understanding how a digital-first strategy was not only necessary for the present moment, but for the future as well. As an example, we moved support groups online when in-person groups were no longer possible and saw how participation improves when there are no geographical barriers. We were able to unite more pockets of the PD community across Canada and foster a deeper sense of community, despite the challenges and disruptions caused by Covid-19.
- What are Parkinson Canada’s goals for the future?
Everything we do works towards helping Canadians living with Parkinson’s live a better life today and a future without Parkinson’s. Understanding the vast array of symptoms, how they impact the lives of everyone experiencing them, and learning where more support and resources are needed directly from the community matter as great deal to us. As such, our goals for the future circulate around deepening that understanding. We founded a Parkinson’s Advisory Council (PAC) comprised of community members from across Canada with diverse perspectives on the impact of Parkinson’s. Their input ensures our efforts have laser-like focus on the areas that matter most.
We created a strategic plan for the future-focused on impacting more people living with Parkinson’s throughout their journey, raising the voices of people living with Parkinson’s to advance solutions towards improved quality of life, and collaborating to drive research innovation that provides hope. We see marketing, a digital-first approach to resources delivery, a focus on diversity and inclusion, and relationship building with volunteers as the tools that will enable our future success. You can find more about our future goals in our Strategic Plan.
Given that April is stress awareness month, we wanted to highlight the importance of ‘Mental Health Leave’ in the workplace.
Although we try to find ways to minimize it, stress is a part of everyone’s lives in one way or another, and often that stress manifests the most at work. But what supports are there for those who find themselves struggling?
Medical Leave is a common practice it is only logical that we start supporting employees through Mental Health Leave to mitigate the issues caused by workplace stressors.
If you think you might be stressed check out the resources from the Canadian Mental Health Association HERE