An interview with Kaitlyn Joffey, Founder of Neuro Wellness and Fitness on September 8, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.
Please tell me a little about your background.
I have been a physical therapist specializing in neurologic care for almost a decade within the rehabilitation and in-home settings. I have been working primarily with the Parkinson’s population for the past 4 years and decided to start my own business in 2022 to provide additional wellness type services to optimize healthy living in the face of a chronic and progressive disease. Parkinson’s Disease affects each person differently, so I use my background as a neurologic clinical specialist, nutrition coach, urban poling instructor, and LSVT BIG & PWR! Moves therapist to provide individualized, movement-based programs.
Can you tell me more about your advocacy?
Over the past year I have connected with like minded health practitioners and clinicians to bring educational events and information to the Parkinson’s community. I have spoken at several local and regional Parkinson’s support groups discussing the benefits of regular exercise and quality nutrition and introduced Urban Poling to many in my area as well. I am also working with another physical therapist to start a local support group this fall to bring more awareness to the Bucks County, PA area. With so many people affected by Parkinson’s and an overwhelming amount of information available at our fingertips, my goal is to provide real life, meaningful information to manage day to day living and all stages of Parkinson’s through any resources and platforms available.
What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?
I became involved in Parkinson’s awareness through career opportunities as a neuro specialized PT and found that it’s a community that I love being a part of. To me, the smallest things can be the most meaningful things. My passion is helping individuals do more than they thought possible, helping to increase opportunities for independence and success, sharing in the small moments and celebrating the big ones. So, my drive to make a daily impact and work toward a healthier, longer future is a natural fit for the Parkinson’s community.
What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when working with you?
When I see individuals with Parkinson’s for wellness services, the goals are centered are maintenance and disease stability. Most individuals I work with are seeking support to keep them on track, promote regular exercise and healthy habits, and provide more proactive care management.
What type of training and how long are the programs?
Through Let’s Get Moving, I provide either 60-minute exercise support or 90 minute comprehensive wellness programs, which entail both exercise and nutrition coaching support. I work with individuals to update and maintain regular exercise routines, develop healthy eating behaviors, and address any other proactive wellness care needs to ensure healthy living with Parkinson’s. I also recently released a 6-week video based workshop, Living Well with Parkinson’s, that provides an assortment of wellness information, helpful tips and tricks, meal ideas, and at home exercise programs for those looking for broader Parkinson’s support.
What effect can your advocacy have on an individual with Parkinson’s?
I think the area that I’ve had the greatest impact is educating individuals about resources, especially locally and regionally, that they weren’t aware could help with their Parkinson’s.
I’ve found that there are so many great programs, services, and resources in the Parkinson’s community that people aren’t aware of or don’t know how it applies to them specifically.
What would you like to see as a future goal for your advocacy?
I hope that one day there will be a cure so that a Parkinson’s diagnosis doesn’t affect people forever. I hope that people are diagnosed earlier so they have access to more education and resources at the start to develop healthy habits and hopefully slow or alter the disease trajectory. Given the necessity for ongoing support, I also hope that healthcare changes so traditional insurance coverage includes more proactive, holistic, and wellness services.
What events do you participate in?
I regularly participate in support groups for individuals with Parkinson’s and care partners, health and wellness fairs, Parkinson’s resource events, and provide educational/wellness seminars throughout my local Parkinson’s community.
How does your advocacy also assist the caregivers?
I always include care partners when working with individuals within their homes as well as during events and support groups. I aim to provide resources to all parties since Parkinson’s affects everyone, not solely the individual diagnosed.
How can someone get in touch? What is your website?
I am happy to speak with anyone in the Parkinson’s community and be a resource in any way I can. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or my phone number is 267-756-2468. My website is www.lgmwellness.com and has all of Let’s Get Moving services and upcoming programs listed.
How can others also become advocates for awareness?
There are so many ways to get involved- start small, start anywhere! If you’re a health professional, connect with like-minded individuals, consider starting or joining programs when there’s a need, and educate wherever you can. If you’re passionate about Parkinson’s, show your support through campaigns, events, contact your local policymakers, or anything else to make your voice heard.
In your opinion, what is the key to effective advocacy?
Our voice is loudest when working together and we have a collective community of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and histories. Keep showing up, keep making your voice heard, keep looking for new opportunities to make a difference. As long as Parkinson’s is affecting people each and every day, we need to be continually working toward a better future.
If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?
Parkinson’s doesn’t define you- so don’t let it. Take charge, find support, get involved, take advantage of available resources, and embrace the community that is eager, ready, and willing to stand by your side every step of the way.