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We (like most other healthcare and fitness facilities) closed our doors to the general population in order to minimize the risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus. Like many people throughout the world…We wondered, what do we do now as a company, and as individuals? How do we reach our PWR!Gym members, near and far? How do we continue to provide the community and the expertise that we would typically provide face-to-face, and through what means?

We started by calling our Tucson PWR!Gym members, to check up on them and to reassure them that, although our gym doors were physically closed, we would be providing them the same support from afar.    I kept hearing a common refrain from my PWR! clients:  this pandemic and period of social distancing had created a time of rejuvenation, and a time of reflection where our clients with Parkinson disease could find what they really wanted to do, versus what they really had to do.

[They shared a] reflection where our clients with Parkinson disease could find what they really wanted to do

As a gym that provides multiple arms of expert Parkinson-specific care for clients (including providing one-on-one physical therapy, group exercise therapy, a week-long yearly retreat, and offering educational courses to train therapists around the world) we had to take the time to think of the same. We needed to provide top-notch Parkinson-specific care, and that was a must. But we had to reflect on how to transfer the services that we offered face-to-face in a way that supported clients while they were in their homes, maintaining their distance from those around them. We came back to our original questions: How do we reach our members, near and far? How do we continue to provide the community and the expertise that we would typically provide face-to-face, and through what means? Could we provide our services to those who might live in Maryland, or California, or Japan?

Could we provide our services to those who might live in Maryland, or California, or Japan?

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The PWR! Gym in Tucson became a flurry of activity as we began to build the Virtual PWR!Gym. Our Tucson PWR!Gym members have gotten to experience some of this material so far: pre-recorded exercise routines, live-streamed classes with familiar instructors, and a community meet-up program to allow members to socialize from home.  Our physical therapists have begun to perform one-on-one wellness consultations via Zoom, for new clients and old. (To find out more about our online wellness consultations, click here). As we have added new options for our members, we have listened to feedback on what needed improvement, and what has worked well. We will continue to add to the Virtual PWR!Gym so that we can develop a comprehensive website that allows members near and far to receive recorded videos of class material, provide community resources for those with Parkinson disease and their care partners, and have options to provide one-on-one wellness consults with our skilled therapists. If you are interested in trying an early sample of a pre-recorded class with Jennifer Bazan-Wigle, visit our virtual PWR!Gym page.

If you are interested in signing up for our interest list to receive information about the Virtual PWR!Gym opening, please visit our Virtual PWR!Gym page for more information and a preview of the classes.

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One thing is sure. Amidst the fear and uncertainty that has come along with the COVID-19 pandemic, we at the PWR!Gym have had a lot of hope. We have hope that our new offerings will be perfect for our clients with Parkinson disease. We have hope that our staff are becoming even more skilled at offering specialized Parkinson care, and will continue to offer this to all of our clients, near and far, in innovative ways. We have hope that our members will stay safe, healthy, and happy amidst this pandemic. As we celebrate Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we send a thank you to all of our PWR! Family, near and far, as our team works together to help the Parkinson community, one step at a time.