Dr. Paul Engstrom’s Story

With decades of experience practicing medicine, Dr. Paul Engstrom knows the value of programming that helps older adults improve and maintain their health. Throughout his career, Dr. Engstrom helped countless individuals – it wasn’t until March 2018 that he himself would be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain.

 "I’m very happy that The Becoming Center exists." 

Symptoms generally develop slowly over years. The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease. People with Parkinson’s may experience:

  • Tremors
  • Slow movement
  • Limb rigidity and/or weakness
  • Gait and balance problems

“When I retired, I began looking for a program to help manage my Parkinson’s,” Dr. Engstrom says. “I had been working with a physical therapist, but that person wasn’t familiar with working with people managing the disease. When I found out about the Parkinson’s program at The Becoming Center, I was very happy to hear that their exercise physiologists are equipped with the knowledge and experience of working with people managing the disease. Their qualifications, training, and degrees as exercise physiologist also sets them apart from other places.”

 Trained exercise at The Becoming Center have experience working directly with people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. 

Throughout the 12 week program, Dr. Engstrom and other participants, as well as their caregivers and family members, were led by certified staff. Beginning with basic movements and progressing through different Parkinson’s-related exercises, Dr. Engstrom was able to focus on the challenges of everyday life by strengthening core muscle groups that help manage symptoms of the disease.

“Jill and Kiley were simply terrific. The way the staff conducted the program demonstrated a wonderful level of understanding, patience, and warmth,” Dr. Engstrom shares. “The goal of the program is to overcome fear and gain an understanding of physical limitations caused by Parkinson’s, and how to handle them. The fact that the program is done with a group rather than individually helped us share information about managing Parkinson’s while receiving support from people going through the same thing.  It helped that the program was held in a room with floor to ceiling mirrors because we could see how we were moving.”

The program focuses on exercises that help participants manage day-to-day symptoms of Parkinson's disease. 

In addition to his career as a physician, Dr. Engstrom serves as a member of the Board of Director for Liberty Lutheran, The Becoming Center’s parent organization.

“I’m very happy that The Becoming Center exists. Liberty is an organization that is focused on empowering people, and The Becoming Center is a key part of that as its family of services,” Dr. Engstrom says. “The Becoming Center is welcoming, and it’s an environment where people can come and improve and maintain their health without any pressure or intimidation. It’s not your regular gym. It’s a special place with special people and special programs.”

Are you ready to learn more about The Becoming Center and which program may be right for you? Click below to start your own journey toward wellness.