The Shaky Times
-- Online Edition --
February 2020
Here's what's below:
February General Meeting Speaker

February Tri-Valley Meeting

In Memory of Dr. Lance Gershen

Cognitive Impairment and cogSMART

Information and Resources Library

Letter from the Editor


Exercise and Activity Classes

Meetings, Announcements, and How to Contact Us
February General Meeting Speaker

Saturday, February 15, 2020 - 9 am-noon
Grace Presbyterian Church, Walnut Creek

Presentation: Parkinson's Disease - More Than Motor Symptoms
Speaker: Dr. Stephen E. Hall, UCSF School of Medicine

Dr. Hall will introduce common non-motor symptoms of PD, including hallucinations and delusions, and discuss symptoms and treatment options. Dr. Hall is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF School of Medicine. He earned his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Hall completed a residency in psychiatry at UCSF, followed by a fellowship in biological psychiatry at UCSF and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System. He has a private practice and is the Director of the Jewish Home in San Francisco.

February Tri-Valley Speaker

Saturday, February 8, 2020 - 10 am-noon
Pleasanton Senior Center

Presentation: Parkinson's Disease and the Management of Off Episodes
Speaker: Dr. Salima Brillman

Dr. Salima Brillman is a board-certified neurologist with a fellowship in movement disorders, which include Parkinson’s Disease, Atypical Parkinsonism, Drug Induced Parkinsonism, Dystonia, Lewy Body Dementia and more. Dr. Brillman is a pioneer in the development of the only DBS program in North Dakota where she was on the faculty at UND. In Florida, she became involved in clinical trials, served on the faculty at FIU and continued her passion for patient care. In 2015, moved back to California, where she was the Director of the Clinical Care Program at the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center.  
In Memory of Dr. Lance R. Gershen
Dr. Lance Ronald Gershen died peacefully at his home on January 2, 2020 in Walnut Creek, California at the age of 75. A retired pediatrician, Dr. Gershen is survived by his eight children, fourteen grandchildren, and his wife Cindy Gershen.

The older of two sons, Lance was born on December 7, 1944 in New York City to George and Lillian Gershen (née Gendelman). Alongside his brother Scott, Lance was raised in New York City and spent summers on Lake Mohegan with his Grandpa Abe Gendelman, Grandma Rose, and Aunt Selma. It was in New York where Lance discovered his first two loves—rock and roll and baseball.

A student of life, Lance had a passion to learn and teach. He graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1961. He graduated from Brooklyn College of The City University of New York in 1965 as a member of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. Dr. Gershen received his M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1969.

Drafted into the U.S. Navy, Dr. Gershen served dutifully at the Naval Station Great Lakes in Chicago, IL. Thereafter, Dr. Gershen completed his residency at The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in pediatric medicine. Dr. Gershen moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began working as a pediatrician at Diablo Valley Pediatrics in Concord, California, where he became a principal partner for over forty years. He was affiliated with John Muir and Sutter Health in Concord and Walnut Creek, CA and was faculty at Oakland Children’s Hospital. Dr. Gershen was instrumental in opening the first alternative birthing center in the Bay Area and touched the lives of thousands of children and families in the Bay Area.

Active in the Jewish community, Lance helped found JBL, a Jewish men’s softball team, and the J Mensch men’s group. Lance was a member of Congregation B’nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek.

Lance enjoyed a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, continuing his academic education throughout his entire life.

Retirement did not slow Lance’s spirit. From climbing Half Dome in Yosemite, travelling to the New Orleans Jazz Festival, hiking the waterfalls of Costa Rica, or attending Rock Steady boxing classes, Lance never stopped pushing himself. A proud grandfather, Poppa spent as much time as he could with his grandkids. An avid sports fan, Lance brought his love for the San Francisco Giants, San Francisco Forty Niners, and Golden State Warriors to generations of children and grandchildren.

Dr. Gershen served as co-president of the Parkinson Network of Mt. Diablo, providing vital support and resources to people living with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregiving community. 

He is survived by his wife Cindy Gershen, his five children Jennifer, Zachary, Sarah, Alexander, and Benjamin Gershen; stepchildren Danielle Brigham, Rose Stein, and Joe Stein; and fourteen grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Scott.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Parkinson Network of Mt. Diablo at

Cognitive Impairment and cogSMART
Cognitive impairment is a common non-motor symptom of Parkinson’s Disease and impacts both those with PD and their caregivers. Cognitive impairment in PD is characterized by predominant executive function deficits, attention difficulties, visuospatial dysfunction, slowed thinking, difficulties in word-finding, and difficulties in learning and remembering information.
Kaiser has a program called “cogSMART” facilitated by Dr. Alana Stark. CogSMART, Cognitive Symptom Management and Rehabilitation Therapy, is a form of cognitive training to help people improve their skills in prospective memory (remembering to do things), attention, learning/memory, and executive functioning (problem-solving, planning, organization, and cognitive flexibility). Dr. Stark presented the “cogSMART” program to PNMD on October 20, 2018 and both my wife and I attended the class in June 2018 and found it to be very helpful.

The Kaiser cogSMART program meets once per week for 90-minute session on Monday afternoons. The main strategy is to organize oneself so that one’s memory is less burdened. There are no magic bullets and no special memory pills. Most of what is learned isn’t new. It requires that the client pays attention and applies discipline. The class is limited to about ten people, but each participant can bring a spouse, family member, friend or caregiver who becomes a full participant.


  • Advanced age
  • Family history
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use
Below is a list of Organizational Strategies from the cogSMART program to lessen the cognitive burden:

  • Make a HOME for important items e.g. keys, phone, wallet, glasses, etc.
  • A HOME may be a container such as a bowl or a basket
  • Decide on a permanent location for your HOME
  • Whenever you return home, the main items are placed in your HOME and nowhere else

  • Whether it is electronic or paper, it should always be with you
  • Schedule events or appointments or location of key phone numbers
  • Have weekly reviews of your calendar with your caregiver or friend

  • Good nutrition (Eat 3 balanced meals/day.)
  • Exercise body
  • Exercise mind. (Puzzles, reading, do something new.)
  • Actively manage anxiety and depression. (Deep breathing, use Imagery)
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Minimize daytime naps to 20 mins
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Self-talk (Talk out loud to yourself)

  • Simplify your life
  • Helps with prioritizing
  • Requires less attention
  • Reduces risk of errors
  • Try to think of other ways to use routines

  • Mindfulness is most useful when it is incorporated into your daily life
  • Avoid doing one thing and thinking of another
  • Try to live in the moment
  • Acronyms may help some people and irritate others
  • Write it down

L isten Actively
E liminate Distractions
A sk Questions
P araphrase

  • Yawn and stretch
  • Rotate shoulders
  • Take a few deep breaths
  • Open mouth and deep breathe

  • Define the problem
  • Brainstorm solutions
  • Evaluate each solution
  • Select solution to try
  • Evaluate the solution

  • Mindfulness is critical
  • If there are times of the day that you feel more alert than others, save for more complex issues
  • When talking to others, look into their eyes and use their name
  • Treat others the way you wish to be treated

Constructed by Derek Ransley, PhD, January 9, 2020
Resource: Kaiser cogSMART Program by Dr. Alana Stark

Information and Resources Library
My name is Rick Stevens, and I am the new Library Chair for PNMD. The Library is here to serve your needs for current and relevant information on Parkinson’s Disease. It serves those with PD, their Caregivers, and the many family and friends who know someone with PD. It is also for those who have an interest in the broader impact of PD - perhaps those seeking to fund research or to find better treatments.

I first want to acknowledge the excellent work that Janice Ransley, our previous Chair, has done in creating the Library that exists today! Everyone retires at some point, and hopefully, others step up. Fortunately, we continue to have Linda Madden, our trusted Library advisor. You will find Linda at the Library table when we have our PNMD general meetings in the Oak Room. You can check out books, get useful pamphlets describing available professional services, or you can pick up one of the many short articles we have decided to reprint for you. Take them home to read at your leisure.

A Local Resource
With so much information available on the Internet, why have a smaller local resource? People get confused by the overwhelming amount of information on the Web. Where to begin? How does one tell the difference between well vetted research and resources from those that might be exploitative or simply speculative? The answer in part may lie in the friends you meet here at PNMD, your local resource. We believe in sharing what we have found to be useful and interesting.

Of course, we also want share some of the top resources we have found on the Web. For example, the Michael J. Fox Foundation is one of the most comprehensive sites dedicated to PD. Here is what you can find in “Understanding Parkinson’s.” Check it out.
One off the best places to start is with Parkinson’s 101 . . It provides an excellent overview of Parkinson’s with links to valuable online resources.

Submitted by Rick Stevens, February, 2020
Letter from the Editor
My name is Jodi Barry and I am the new editor of the Shaky Times as well as the new Publicity Chair for PNMD. I am honored to be part of PNMD and its extraordinary members and look forward to meeting each of you at future group meetings. As some of you may know, I am also a yoga teacher with a passion of sharing the many benefits of yoga during the weekly Yoga and Movement for PD class. 

I want to acknowledge Abraham for his multiple roles as Chair, Editor and Saturday programs and his efforts and hard work to continually provide PNMD members with a quality newsletter each month. I will do my best to carry the torch! Additionally, a big shout out to Beth for her past and continued quality contribution compiling the newsletter each month. I look forward to be a part of this smooth running machine.

The Shaky Times is published monthly and includes information and updates on the general and support group meetings, special events, and relevant articles contributed by PD experts and PNMD members. In my role as editor, it is my goal to continue delivering the quality of information you have received over the years and to also find ways to refresh the layout while providing even more content. I happily welcome your suggestions for articles and topics for future publications.

Jodi Barry
George Anne Rhines
Lance and Sue Donner
Les and Priscilla Rodgers
Ruth Wilhelm and Rosemary Thull
Nancy Clarke

Chevron (matching gift)
Jillian Chellew (vehicle)

Rosemary Fowler in honor of Arthur H. Fowler
Melissa Izzi and Wade Meith in honor of Anthony and Mary Izzi

Mary Boland in memory of Tom Roberts
Enid Satariano in memory of Bill Satariano

In memory of Dr. Lance Gershen:

Kristen Harlan
Carol Peplinski
Diane M. Budden
Melissa and Norman Davis
Alan Elnick
Richard Carmel
Sara Allen
Jonathan and Debra Kalan
Kay Hogan
Bill and Wendy Dorband
Roy Kaplan
Lisa A. Eitzel
Karla and Neil Smith
Carter Winton
Joy Larocca
Friends at mtheory LLC
Sandra Horne and Friends at McGuire Woods
Jocelyn Asher
      Stephen Bort
Anthony Le
Lonnie Veitch
David Powell
Alan Isaacson and Amy Van Voorhis
Cathy and Glenn Hostetler
Jodi Barry
Misha Safran
Rachel Hirsh
Sheldon and Roberta Silver
Rhonda Ryan
Derek and Janice Ransley
Janet Richardson
Nancy and David Steinberg
Santo and Jan Alioto
Lance and Sue Donner
Carol Olmert
Diablo Valley Pediatrics Medical Group

PD Exercise Activity Classes


Parkinson's Wellness Recovery, Walnut Creek
Monday, 9:30-10:45 AM, Petra Fibrichova, 510-520-4523
Yoga, Walnut Creek
Thursday, 9:30-10:45 AM, Jodi Barry, 415-328-4123
Dance Moves Me
Tuesday, 1:00-2:30 PM, Debbie Sternback, 510-653-8362
Tremble Clefs
Thursday, 1:30-3:00 PM, April Wakeman, 925-276-0463
Rock Steady Boxing, Danville
Tues. & Thur., 12:30 - 2 PM, Daniel Burkhardt, 925-471-5432
Rock Steady Boxing, Concord
Classes Mon. - Sat., Call for times, Multiple coaches, 925-785-1272

Please contact activity instructor for further details and fees.
Announcements, Meetings and How to Reach Us
Pianist Wanted for Tremble Clefs

Parkinsons Network of Mt. Diablo (PNMD) is looking for a pianist to accompany their musical group (the Tremble Clefs). They meet weekly (Thursdays 1:30 – 3:00) at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church at 49 Knox Drive, Lafayette.

For more information contact April Wakeman

PNMD is a 501 ©3 Non-Profit all Volunteer organization.

Questions? Contact Amy Van Voorhis at

Is There Treasure In Your Driveway?

You can stop paying insurance and registration—and get a tax deduction.
Donate your car, truck or boat to PNMD . Just call: 877-999-8322

Important: Be sure to tell the operator that you wish to donate your car to Parkinson Network of Mount Diablo. Or just use this link for our dedicated online donation form:
If you have any questions, call the vehicle donation program at 877-999 8322.
Or contact Abraham Raja at
     General Meeting Information:

Board Meeting:
First Monday of each month, 10:15 a.m.. Hillside Covenant Church, 2060 Magnolia Way, Walnut Creek. Open to all members.

General Support Group Meeting:
The Parkinson Network of Mt. Diablo Support Group meets on the third Saturday of every month, from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2100 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. Moderator: Bill Clinch. There is no charge, but annual membership is $50 per year per family.

9:00 to 10:15 a.m. – Three concurrent Support Group meetings:

Men with Parkinson’s Disease meet in the Fireside Room at Grace Church. Contact person is Derek Ransley,, 925-944-0162.

Women with Parkinson’s Disease meet in the Library at Grace Church. Contact person is Rosemary Way,, 925-939-7665.

Caregivers meet in the Sanctuary at Grace Church. Contact persons are: Jan Alioto,, 925-890-8937; Sara DeZerega,, 925-377-1004; Janice Ransley,, 925-944-0162.

10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.-Refreshments in the Oak Room. The PNMD Library, with books, flyers, and videos is open at this time. Please bring cut-up fruit or your favorite snack to share.

10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Guest speaker (See information above) Oak Room.

General questions may be directed to PNMD at (925) 939-4210 or website:

Tri-Valley (Pleasanton) Support Group Meeting:
Meets second Saturday of the month, year-round, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton. This is a support group and learning session that is open to all who want to learn about PD. Facilitators are Norman Bardsley, 925-831-9940 and Mary Behrendt, 925-989-0209.

Contact Us

Web site: 
General Information Phone No.: (925) 939-4210

President: Abraham Raja (925) 381-0688 or
Vice-President: Joan Flack (954) 540-6965 or
Secretary: Janice Ransley (925) 944-0162 or
Treasurer: Amy Van Voorhis (925) 932-5036 or
Membership: Sarah Talach (209)404-8824 or
Health and Wellness Program: Cathy Hostetler (925) 932-5285
Volunteer Coordinator: Cathy Hostetler (925) 932-5285 or
Information Technology: Sara Allen (925) 296-0221 or
Newsletter Editor: Jodi Barry (415) 328-4123 or
Publicity: Jodi Barry and Beth Donegan (949) 680-9133 or
Librarian: Rick Stevens (510) 928-0936 or
Program Chair: Abraham Raja (acting)
Fundraising Chair: Abraham Raja (acting)
Tri-Valley Support Group: Mary Behrendt (925) 989-0209 or
Tremble Clefs: April Wakeman (925) 276-0463 or
Women's Discussion Group: Rosemary Way (925) 939-7665,
Men's Discussion Group: Derek Ransley (925) 944-0162 or
Caregiver Discussion Group: Jan Alioto (925)890-8937 or; or Sara DeZerega,, 925-377-1004; or Janice Ransley,, 925-944-0162
DBS: Gary Hevener (925) 937-4335 or

Donations and Memorials: Please mail to P.O. Box 3127, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is published to increase awareness of problems related to Parkinson’s Disease. Neither PNMD nor its members make any warranty or assume any responsibility as to the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented. The editor’s opinions are strictly his own.