Archives for January 2020

Tai Chi and Parkinson’s disease

January 31, 2020

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that combines deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movement. Numerous studies have shown Tai Chi can provide significant improvement in motor and nonmotor symptoms for people with Parkinson’s disease.

In a recent study titled The Impact of Mind-Body Exercises on Patients with Parkinson’s Disease, published on December 27, 2019 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Tai Chi helped improve balance function, depressive symptoms, and overall quality of life.

Motor Benefits

  • Improved posture
  • Improved balance (up 2x more according to this article from Harvard Medical School)
  • Reduced falls
  • Improved mobility
  • Improved flexibility

Nonmotor Benefits

  • Improved depressive symptoms
  • Improved anxiety symptoms
  • Improved quality of life
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Self-esteem

Perhaps even more beneficial than the motor benefits are the nonmotor benefits provided by Tai Chi. A study in the Journal of Yoga and Physical Therapy, states that nonmotor symptoms are highly impactful on quality of life. By managing nonmotor symptoms of PD through Tai Chi, quality of life can be greatly improved!

Tai Chi Classes

Tai Chi for Better Balance Hastings Family YMCA
1430 W 16th St
Hastings, NE 68901
Advanced 10:30-11:15am
Beginner 11:30-12:15pm
Erika Knott

Virtual Tai Chi

Dee Brauninger in Alliance, NE is offering virtual Tai Chi classes.

Mondays 9:30- 10:15 am MT/ 10:30- 11:15 am CT

There is no cost to participate in classes. Contact Dee Brauninger at or call 308-763-1254 for the class Zoom link.

2020 UNMC Skate-a-thon for Parkinson’s

January 29, 2020

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the most successful Skate-a-thon to date! This year we raised over $34,000 to provide Parkinson’s education, support, and services throughout Nebraska. 

Not only did we do a lot of good, we also had a lot of fun! Here are some highlights from 24 of our favorite hours of the year!

2:00 pm Skate-a-thon kick off. 24 hours to go!

Over 525 skaters showed up to skate, dance, drink hot chocolate, and support the Parkinson’s community! 

Parkinson’s disease does not stop. Not in the middle of the night and not when it is cold outside. That’s why we have skaters and teams skate for the full 24 hours, to represent how Parkinson’s symptoms don’t stop.

The cold didn’t stop these skaters who participated in the Shiver Skate at 1:00 am.

Talk about dedication!

2:00 am- Half way there! 12 hours down, 12 to go.

Starting the day off right with a F3 pop up workout at 5:30 am. In this picture they are doing a ‘cool down’ on the ice to end their workout ….and it just happened to overlap sunrise yoga on ice. (Which is the 6 horizontal bodies in the back row stretching!) 

8:00 am and still 6 hours to go!

And finally, after 24 hours of skating, fun, and raising awareness we made it to the end of the 10th annual UNMC Skate-a-thon for Parkinson’s!

Thank you to our sponsors who made this event possible!

Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s disease

January 3, 2020

Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is a spectrum of closely related, progressive brain disorders characterized by a build up of Lewy bodies (abnormal protein deposits) on the brain. 

When these deposits build up on the brain stem they can disrupt dopamine production and cause parkinsonism, a clinical syndrome characterized by tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, and postural instability.

Parkinson’s disease also causes parkinsonism, but it is caused by a loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells, not a build up of Lewy bodies in the brain stem.

Dementia with Lewy body vs. Parkinson’s disease dementia

While both LBD and PD are caused by a disruption in dopamine production and have similar symptoms, the difference is the order in which the symptoms appear. 

Dementia with Lewy Body: A type of dementia that presents the motor symptoms of PD as the disease progresses. The dementia always appears first, with parkinsonism appearing as the disease progresses. 

Parkinson’s disease dementia : A term used for dementia that develops after several years of living with Parkinson’s disease. Nearly all people with PD will experience parkinsonism, but not all people with Parkinson’s disease will develop dementia. 

For more information about Lewy Body Dementia visit or click here to view the early differentiating symptoms between PD and LBD. 

New Lewy Body Dementia Support Group!

If you or a loved one has Lewy body dementia and is need of support and guidance, please join Charity Brumbaugh at the new Lewy body dementia support group.

Lewy Body Dementia Support Group
Milton R. Abrahams Library
9111 N 90th St.
Omaha, NE 68134
2nd Monday of every month 10:00 am-11:30 am
Charity Brumbaugh

January 2020 Grant Recipients

January 2, 2020

Parkinson’s Nebraska is on a mission to be the primary source of Parkinson’s disease education, support, and services in Nebraska. One way we support the Parkinson’s community is by providing financial support to programs that are making a difference in the lives of people with Parkinson’s and their families. We are proud to announce our latest round of grant recipients!

Kris Costello

Kris teaches the Functional Movement for Seniors class at Messiah Lutheran Church in Lincoln, NE. She attended the Delay the Disease training this past July because she wanted to provide more specialized services to the people with PD in her class. She was awarded a grant to provide medicine balls, which she can use to introduce new exercises and improve the quality of the class!

If you are in Lincoln, stop by Kris’ Functional Movement for Seniors class:

Functional Movement for Seniors
Messiah Lutheran Church
1800 S 84th St.
Lincoln, NE 68506
Fridays 11:00-11:45 am
Cost: $30/ 6- week session or $10 drop- in
Kris Costello

Grand Island YMCA Rock Steady Boxing Class

The Grand Island YMCA, with the Grand Island Balance Mobility ands Aquatic Center, provides a Rock Steady Boxing class to the Grand Island community, and it keeps growing! We are thrilled to present the Grand Island YMCA with a training grant for another professional to become a certified Rock Steady Boxing coach!

Go and see Ashlyn and the other Rock Steady Boxing coaches at the Grand Island YMCA:

Rock Steady Boxing
Grand Island YMCA
221 E. South Front St.
Grand Island, NE 68801
Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Monday and Friday 11:00 am- 12:00 pm
$75 initial evaluation
Contact Grand Island YMCA for membership options
Ashlyn Cramer: 308-398-2170;
Grand Island YMCA: 308-398-9622

Craig Bontrager and Jefferson Community Health & Life

Craig Bontrager, director of the Burkley Fitness Center at the Jefferson Community Health & Life, is passionate about increasing Parkinson’s services to Fairbury. Fairbury has a Parkinson’s support group and large number of people with Parkinson’s in the area. Parkinson’s Nebraska is proud to award Craig with a training grant to become a Rock Steady Boxing certified coach and Jefferson Community Health and Life with a grant to pay for the affiliate fee to get the class started! We are thrilled to work with Craig to meet a need and bring services to the Fairbury community.

Classes coming in Fall 2020!

Jody Augustyn at the Sherman County Senior Center

Jody teaches a Strength and Balance yoga class at the Sherman Senior Center in Loup City, NE. She attended the Delay the Disease training to be able to provide more specialized services to the large PD population in the area, and she is dedicated to improving lives.  Parkinson’s Nebraska is proud to award Jody with an ongoing class sponsorship, making it our first sponsored class outside of the Omaha metro!

Join Jody at the first specialized exercise class for people with Parkinson’s in Loup City:

Strength and Balance
Sherman County Senior Center
617 O St.
Loup City, NE 68853
Mondays and Wednesdays 10:00- 10:30 am
Cost: Contact Jody for cost information
Jody Augustyn

We are so grateful to have these professionals and organizations on our journey to fight Parkinson’s!  

2019 Impact

January 2, 2020

Thank you for a great year!

Our biggest highlight of the year was the Delay the Disease training in July. Since July, the training has impacted:

  • 55 professionals certified
  • 23 specialized exercise classes
  • 13 therapy providers
  • 18 communities across Nebraska
  • a new support group in Beatrice
  • Statewide connections

Other ways we have impacted the community:

  • We have sponsored over 450 Parkinson’s exercise class in the Omaha metro area
  • We gave 9 educational presentations in Omaha and rural communities across Nebraska, educating and spreading awareness to over 230 people with Parkinson’s and their caregivers.
  • We participated in 12 community events
  • We engaged with over 2,000 Nebraskans
  • We hosted 12 support groups, connecting the community and providing resources

Some other things we have been working on to increase our ability to serve the community:

  • Regularly updated website
  • Online Resource Directory with the most current listing of Parkinson’s resources in Nebraska
  • Online Community Calendar where people can search for services by city
  • Growing monthly newsletter to engage with people across the state

Please join us as we build on our momentum and continuing to expand services, engage with the Parkinson’s community, and foster our new statewide relationships in the upcoming year.