The Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group (NEREG) Launches its 2013 Epilepsy Wellness Program in New York and New Jersey

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In order to promote quality of life, the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group (NEREG) is launching an epilepsy wellness program in New York and New Jersey for their adult patients diagnosed with epilepsy and seizures.

We came up with the idea of providing our epilepsy patients with brief workshops that they could attend and then take with them to keep practicing on their own at home.

Persons diagnosed with active epilepsy lose their driving privileges until seizure freedom is achieved. Public transportation or people who will volunteer to be a driver can be hard to find. As a result, independence becomes limited and it can be hard to keep a job or to participate in social activities. Eventually a big chunk of waking hours may be spent at home alone. The lack of intellectual stimulation and interesting things to keep busy can lead to feeling stuck and bored.

Seeing this happening to a number of patients, Dr. Lorna Myers, Associate Director of NEREG’s patient advocacy branch Epilepsy Life Links explained that her group “came up with the idea of providing our epilepsy patients with brief workshops locally so that they could attend and take with them lessons learned to keep practicing on their own at home. To get this done the doctors in our practice supported the program financially, instructors worked for reduced fees and the offices opened their conference rooms or waiting rooms after hours.” Epilepsy Life Links made sure the instructors understood that the physical exercises being taught needed to be safe and modified to protect against risk of injury during a seizure.

A pilot project last year offered a few courses including a basic computer course, knitting lessons, and yoga at one office. Results were very encouraging. In fact, the Hackensack knitting club was so successful that it continued on an ongoing basis all year long. Based on this, Epilepsy Life Links advocates developed a much more ambitious 2013 program. Professionals in several arenas of wellness were recruited to instruct various ways to get moving, be creative and grow personally. The current 2013 Wellness in Epilepsy program includes: introduction to painting, yoga, a drum circle group (learn to play a bongo drum), and purple knitting/crochet clubs, now being offered over two months in several locations in New Jersey and New York City.

To see the schedule, visit Events page or contact Melissa Fleming, Program Coordinator at (212) 661-7460 Ext. 123.

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