Looking forward to 2022

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Looking forward to 2022

Looking forward to 2022

A quick chat with Support Group Coordinator Cassie Morgan about what the coming year holds for Parkinson’s NSW Support Groups.

What are your priorities for 2022?

Doing whatever we can to enable a return to effective and rewarding face-to-face Support Group meetings.

Many Support Groups have resumed face-to-face meetings already or will do so in early 2022. We are here to support you in adjusting to the new COVID normal when resuming face-to-face meetings.

The danger from the pandemic has lessened, but it has not completely gone away. Already we are seeing a new variant of the COVID virus appear in the NSW community – it is called Omicron. Therefore COVID safety remains a priority.

What COVID-safe measures are required?

It is important to have a COVID-safe plan in place to understand what you can do to keep your Support Group participants safe at meetings and reduce the risk of infection.

Stick to the basics including remaining 1.5 metres apart, providing hand sanitiser, keeping an accurate record of who attends each meeting, and not sharing pens, microphones, or plates of food.

It will be incredibly beneficial to reconnect with your Support Group participants and rebuild social connections with one another – but let’s do it safely.

How can Groups rebuild their participant numbers when meetings resume?

We understand that many Support Groups are experiencing a drop in participant numbers and a lack of engagement after repeated lockdowns.

I am working with colleagues in the Marketing Department on a project to boost the presence of Support Groups in the wider community, promote the benefits of being involved in a Support Group, and attract new and old participants to your groups.

We will also work one-on-one with Groups that need assistance getting their participant numbers back up after being shaken up by lockdown. We can do this by helping you reach out to local media, community newsletters, bulletin boards, social media etc.

If this is something that your Group could benefit from, please email me at supportgroups@parkinsonsnsw.org.au

When are you planning to start visiting Groups once again?

We’ve already started! In fact I have personally visited five Groups in November and December.

We are all looking forward to getting on the road again in 2022. CEO Jo-Anne Reeves, myself and the rest of the team are planning to hit the road more frequently to visit Support Groups. We can’t wait to reconnect with you.

If there is a particular meeting where you would like to see one of us in attendance, let us know, and work it into your Annual Plan.

Will Zoom meetings continue now we can meet again in person?

Zoom meetings are here to stay. Parkinson’s NSW will continue to host online meetings as a great way for us to extend our reach and provide greater access to guest speakers and informative sessions – as well as a platform to ask questions.

Online meeting details will continue to be posted on our website and in InTouch each month. We are currently working on an exciting lineup of guest speakers and topics for early 2022.

Any big events coming up?

World Parkinson’s Awareness Month is coming up in April and will be here before we know it. January/February is a good time to start thinking about what you would like to do to acknowledge this special month and help to raise community awareness of Parkinson’s and the challenges facing people living with this disease – as well as their caregivers.

We can support you with community outreach and organising fundraising events during this high-profile month. It will also be a good opportunity to publicise your Group and recruit new participants.