How East Hartford Family Deals with Parkinson’s

Print icon

East Hartford residents Jan and Roger Penney, who have been married 56 years, are a striking couple who laugh easily and enjoy each other’s company.

Jan and Roger, along with their son and daughter-in-law, are handling the challenge of Roger’s Parkinson’s diagnosis as a family. Jan says, “They take it one day at a time and are grateful for every day.”

Roger was a project engineer and traveled to China, Indonesia and other locations for work. After retiring, he worked part-time at a golf course, where he could enjoy the sport he loved. The Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2017 was unexpected because he had no tremor.

Losing the ability to play golf and then giving up driving were hard adjustments. Jan is a dedicated advocate and a strong supporter. She keeps an upbeat attitude but sometimes it can be difficult to know where to turn. Jan and Roger have made the most of the services at the Chase Family Movement Disorders Center.

Roger’s Movement Disorders specialist guides his care, and Roger recently visited with a Movement Disorders fellow and an advanced practice registered nurse. When Roger was referred for speech therapy, he found the service in the same building. Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network is also located in both the Vernon and Cheshire centers for convenience for the patient, but also for coordinating care.

Roger took part in the SPEAK OUT! and now The LOUD Crowd speech therapy programs. There is also the FLOW class for graduates of Physical Therapy and it is important to Roger for his exercise routine. Roger can take part in the program and Jan can socialize with other care partners in the lobby in an informal support group that just formed organically while waiting for their spouses. Jan could not say enough about the quality of care that Roger has received from the speech, physical and occupational therapists at the Chase Family Movement Disorders Center.

Support is vital in navigating Parkinson’s disease. The Penneys are fortunate to have a devoted son and daughter-in-law, living nearby, who provide respite and company. Also, a monthly Neurodegenerative Care Partner Support Group is held at the Community Wellness and Education Room in Vernon. Jan enjoys the conversation and support of the group members and the available resources.

“We learn from each other,” Jan said.

Loss of balance can be a concern with Parkinson’s. Jan worried about Roger’s fall risk and was introduced to the resource coordinator who works for the Center for Healthy Aging and provides free in-home falls prevention assessments and recommendations. The Center for Healthy Aging kiosk is located in the Hartford HealthCare Vernon location as a part of the coordinated care available to area residents.

Parkinson’s impacts not only the person but the whole family. A good support system of family and friends and a caring healthcare team, can help traverse the Parkinson’s journey. Jan and Roger feel that they have found this at Hartford HealthCare’s Chase Family Movement Disorders Center in Vernon.

For more information on Hartford HealthCare’s Chase Family Movement Disorders Center, click here.




What's New

Dr. Hugh Cahill

CHH Adds 3 Neurologists, Physician Assistant

The Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (CHH) has greatly increased access to neurology services for patients with the addition of three neurologists and a physician assistant in the Medical Office Building CHH, 538 Litchfield Street, Suite 104 in Torrington. Neurologists Dr. Hugh Cahill, Dr. Lucas Meira-Benchaya...

Why Does My Neck Hurt? (It Could Be a Pinched Nerve)

When is neck pain a serious issue? When it’s a pinched nerve, according to Dr. Joel Bauman, chief of neurosurgery at the Connecticut Orthopaedic Institute at MidState Medical Center. Q: What is a pinched nerve? A: A pinched nerve is when there is an injury, usually in the disk, which...


Parkinson’s Roadmap Education, Support Series Available in Vernon, Cheshire

The diagnosis can be surprising and overwhelming, but if you’ve been told you have Parkinson’s disease, the Parkinson’s Roadmap for Education and Support Services (PRESS™) can provide support and tips to guide you through. “PRESS was created by the American Parkinson Disease Association as a gentle and thorough way to...

Cheshire HealthCenter

New Movement Disorders Center Open in Cheshire, With Mystic Next

The Chase Family Movement Disorders Center combines the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic skills to provide compassionate and fully integrated care in the management of the disease and other movement disorders. To best meet the needs of patients, Hartford HealthCare is developing comprehensive, state-of-the-art facilities throughout Connecticut to support those...

Dr. J. Antonelle de Marcaida

It’s the First Movement Disorders Center Newsletter

By Dr. J. Antonelle de Marcaida Medical Director Hartford HealthCare Chase Family Movement Disorders Center Welcome to the inaugural e-newsletter of Hartford HealthCare’s Chase Family Movement Disorders Center. It’s hard to believe it has only been four years since our first Movement Disorders Center opened its doors at the Hartford...

Your brain and aging

How Normal is Memory Decline as We Age?

Normal aging makes joints creak and skin sag. Inside the brain, cognition changes in similarly “predictable ways,” according to Dr. Amy Sanders, director of the Ayer Neuroscience Institute’s Memory Care Center in Wethersfield. Research has shown, she said, that the speed with which adults process new information or retrieve stored...