The Parkinson Association of Santa Barbara (PASB) has initiated an outreach program to Spanish speakers in the greater Santa Barbara community who have Parkinson’s Disease.
The program opened on Aug. 21 with a free, Spanish-language, musical exercise program on Facebook Live geared to people with Parkinson or similar physical limitations (facebook.com/parkinsonassociationsb/live.)
PASB recently received a $5,000 grant from the Parkinson Foundation, as well as individual donations to help support the program. The first class has so far had 77 views.
The Latino Outreach Program is modeled on the successful programs PASB currently offers in English: There are chair-based, musical exercise classes twice a week; three types of support groups; a monthly educational program; and an annual all-day symposium.
The programs have helped create a strong sense of community and mutual support among the roughly 300 participants.
PASB, however, has not been attracting many Spanish-speaking people with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers, even though Latinos make up about one-third of the population of about 140,000 in the greater Santa Barbara area (Carpinteria to Goleta).
PASB estimates there are several hundred Latinos with Parkinson’s Disease in the local community. Current programs may have been less accessible to them both because of the language and the location where they were offered. The online, Spanish-language class should help overcome these barriers. The instructor will be offering a free program of moving to Latino music.