Remi Collard, a professional freelance oboe musician with a long, established career up until the start of COVID, began to feel concerned when during his forced hiatus, he noticed some fine motor difficulty in his right hand. The doctors were quick and convinced about the diagnosis: Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

This certainly was not the retirement he and his wife had long planned. At 61 years of age, Remi had to make some decisions that could help him to remain as healthy and strong as possible within the realm of a progressive, unpredictable disease. With the support of a devoted wife and loving children, Remi began exercising his body 7 days/week, training his voice 4 days/week, and transitioning to a healthy, non-inflammatory diet.

Playing tennis, going to the gym and taking four Cummings Centre Zoom online classes have become a full-time job. “My biggest difficulties are stiffness and slowness,” says Remi, “and I know that if I stopped doing everything I do, it would be much worse.”

Remi’s advice for anyone going through the same diagnosis: “Continue. Have hope. Don’t let yourself become discouraged by the situation. Surround yourself with good, capable people who can motivate you, because carrying on is the hardest part.”

There are over 100,000 Canadians living with Parkinson’s disease and approximately 6,600 new cases of PD are diagnosed each year in Canada. The symptoms of this movement disorder are characterized by slowness of movement, rigidity, tremor, postural instability and changes in speech/facial expressions.  A great deal of research indicates that exercise can be the difference between dependence and independence for those living with PD.  Yet nearly 40% of patients who have had PD for 10 years are not exercising. The result is a more rapid decline.

For the 60% that have understood that movement is an essential part of treatment and are looking to exercise, there is much to choose from. From Parkinson’s Canada to Parkinson’s Quebec to the myriad of non-profit and profit organizations, the abundance of programs aiming to help persons living with PD make it easier to be compliant in this area. Cummings Centre too has increased their offerings in the spring for programs specific to PD. The re-opening of in-person programming in our Westbury ADAPTED EXERCISE CLINIC along with a variety of online classes can provide opportunities for essential daily movement critical to keep symptoms at bay.

For the week of April 11th, we encourage all affected by this disease to join our virtual FREE TRIAL WEEK. Choose from Adapted Exercise for Functional Movement, Boxing Interval Fitness for PD, Vocal Training for PD, Balance & Mobility, Sing Like No One Can Hear You, Exercise for Strength & Flexibility and much more…

To register, click here. For more information, please contact Maria Fragapane at 514.734.1797

The Cummings Centre’s mission is to empower and enhance the quality of life of adults age 50 and over by providing dynamic and innovative programs, social services, and volunteer opportunities in a vibrant, respectful, inclusive and compassionate environment. Building on its Jewish heritage, Cummings embraces people from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

As the hub of Montreal’s 50+ community, the Centre touches the lives of 10,000 people on an annual basis. In addition to its main campus at 5700 Westbury Avenue in Montreal, programs are offered at several off-site locations including the West Island, Cote Saint-Luc, St.LaurentWestmountChomedey and Florida.

For more information, please contact us by phone at 514-343-3510, online at or in person at 5700 Westbury Avenue.