By Jess Stielow, Director

Illinois/Northwest Indiana I & R Center

Forty five Support Group Leaders came in from across Illinois and Northwest Indiana to attend this year’s workshop in Schaumburg, Illinois.  We had a full day of education and networking that centered on identifying the phases of a support group, rejuvenating a group and tackling some difficult conversations that present themselves in support groups.  

Dr. Michael Mercury, PhD, Director of Psychology at Cadence Health was our keynote speaker, and educated                     the group on identifying communication styles and successfully communicating in order to reach everyone.

Maxine Dust, APDA Midwest Chapter President, welcomed the group and updated everyone on the work the Chapter does and how the Chapter helps people with Parkinson’s and their families. 

Julie Sacks, APDA National Young Onset Director, spoke about opportunities for reaching the young onset PD population and welcoming young onset Parkinson’s members into your group.

Dr. Jocelyn Nolt, Scientist at Cadence Health educated us about the new Neurodegenerative diseases research lab that is opening at Central DuPage Hospital.

Joan Guest, LCSW and Margaret McKenzie, LCSW, fellow support group leaders talked to the group about thriving support groups and handling difficult discussions in a support group setting.

Christine Cornell got us up and moving with some Parkinson’s specific exercises we can use in our groups!

And lastly, APDA CEO, Leslie Chambers was with us for the day program and the networking hour in the evening.  She was able to personally meet each support group leader, listen to their questions and share her vision for the APDA.  We were so fortunate that she traveled to be with us (again for the 2nd year in a row!) for this wonderful weekend. 

We walked away with our heads full of new ideas and ways to communicate with our groups. This annual event is designed as a learning opportunity and a way to show our gratitude to our Support Group Leaders who work so hard throughout the year.  These groups are the lifeline to the PD community; providing not only support, but education, connection and friendships.  I was so excited to see many new faces this year and to catch up with many long time dedicated support group leaders too.   Thank you to all of you who made the trip – and for some of you it was a long trip!  The popularity of the Support Group Leaders Workshop is growing….we had several more support group leaders this year than we had last year!  The more the merrier….Please spread the word.    Thank you for sharing your experiences and wisdom, and I hope to see even more of you next year!

P.S. Cadence Health is hosting their 1st Parkinson’s Caregiver Conference, entitled “Navigating the Caregiving Journey” on Saturday, May 31st from 8:30-1 p.m. at Central DuPage Hospital.  This event is free and all are welcome.  To register, or for more information, please call 630-933-4234.  

Jess Stielow
Director, I & R Center
Central DuPage Hospital
25 N. Winfield Road, Winfield, IL 60190
800-223-9776 or  630-933-4383

2014 Support Group Leaders Workshop – “Phases and Stages of a Support Group”


Copyright 2008, 2009 Sheryl Jedlinski

How does the Information and Referral Center assist care givers/partners?

The dictionary defines a care giver as “an unpaid person who is responsible for attending to the needs of a child or dependent adult.” The care giving journey is a partnership between the person giving care and the one receiving it. As Parkinson’s progresses, the role of care partner grows more challenging. To help them better cope care partners are frequently given well-intended advice: 

  1. Take time for yourself. 

  2. Get enough rest.

  3. Take mental health breaks.

  4. Tend to your own needs. You’re no good to anyone else if you do not take care of yourself.

  5. Ask other people for help. Don’t try to do everything yourself.

These are  wise suggestions, but what happens when they clash with reality?

How do you “get enough rest” when your partner has been in and out of bed all night? 

How do you squeeze in “dinner and a movie with a friend” when your partner is depends on you 24/7? 

How do you take “mental health breaks” when your loved one is battling depression? 

To bridge the disparity between helpful suggestions and the day-to-day reality of life for a care partner, the I & R Center offers:

Telephone Support and Problem-Solving Whether you are seeking information about local support groups, or need referrals to movement disorders specialists, the I & R Center has the answers. We will help you explore solutions to any situations encountered in your care partner role. Call 1-800-223-9776.

Respite Care /“Time-Out” Program Available by application through the APDA Midwest Chapter, this program supports qualifying in-home family care partners (see page 1). To learn more about and/or request an application, call the Chapter Office at 630-933-4392.

Support Groups welcome care partners to attend meetings, either alone or with their loved one. It is a great way to socialize and share information with other care partners. To locate or learn about a group near you, call 630- 933-4383 or 1-800-223-9776.

Caregiver Support Groups address specific care partner needs. For details, to start a group of your own, or to share ideas about how APDA can better assist in meeting caregiver needs, call 630 933-4383 or 1-800 223-9776.

Caregiver Specific Educational Programs 

The I & R Center keeps up to date information about upcoming educational programs in our region. If you want to be notified of these, call 630-933-4383.