St. Paul Elder Services Brings Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!) Exercise Program to the Fox Valley

 St. Paul Elder Services (SPES), a community dedicated to enriching the life experience of the individuals they serve, is expanding its community-based services to include Parkinson Wellness Recovery (PWR!), a new Parkinson’s-specific exercise program. PWR! works to improve neuroplasticity and slow the progression of the disease by focusing on large movements to target four critical skills the disease attacks: antigravity extension, weight shifting, axial mobility and transitional movements.

“Parkinson’s symptoms can hinder a person’s quality of life, limit their abilities and make daily activities seem unmanageable,” said Sondra Norder, president, and CEO of SPES. “This program aims to vastly improve lives affected by this debilitating condition.” 

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement. A study published to the National Library of Medicine shows that physical activity can improve symptoms for patients with Parkinson’s Disease and those who have maintained physical activity have seen a decrease in pain associated with the disease, prolonged independent mobility, and improvements in sleep, mood and memory.

The PWR! Program, which is the first of its kind in the Fox Valley, will be led by Ali Mischler, who has more than 12 years of experience caring for residents and patients at SPES. Mischler is a licensed physical therapist assistant certified in Parkinson Wellness Recovery.

“PWR! targets four core movements often deteriorated by Parkinson’s symptoms that can make eating, getting dressed, walking or other life skills difficult,” Mischler said. “Program participants can perform these exercise movements at multiple skill levels to meet their unique needs, which can not only help them maintain independence but can help them live a full life.”

PWR! will be offered weekly on Mondays from 1-2 p.m., beginning May 15, at the Hoffman Memory Care Resource Building at St. Paul Elder Services in Kaukauna, located at 221 E 13th Street (map). Each session costs $10 with an instructor-to-participant ratio of 1-to-6. All necessary equipment will be provided, and local transportation is available. 

SPES is hosting a PWR! open house on May 8 from 4-7 p.m. for those who wish to learn more about the program that will include a free PWR! assessment, raffle baskets and refreshments. 

To RSVP for the open house or sign up for PWR!, call 920-766-6020 ext. 187 or email

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