HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Hagerstown’s Parkinson’s Support Group raised awareness for the community Friday morning on how to support families and loved ones who are living with Parkinson’s.

“We believe that the social aspects are just as important as the educational aspects, so the more people we can reach in the community in the four-state area actually, the better off the community will be,” said Co-Facilitator of Hagerstown Parkinson’s Support Group Art Guyer.

According to the MedIfocus Guidebook to Parkinson’s, about 50,000 people each year are diagnosed with Parkinson’s and may live with it for a period of time without knowing. And, more than half-a-million people are affected by Parkinson’s through a family member or friend.

“I’ve been doing this 11 years now, and my wife died a year ago this month basically from a fall,” said Guyer. “Parkinson’s people have a tendency to lose balance and fall, so she broke her hip and never fully recovered from that. I’m still working Parkinson’s groups, travel to Parkinson’s meetings and seminars in her honor.”

There are many signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but the most common signs are having slight tremors in the hands or feet, muscle stiffness, voice changes and loss of fine motor skills.

“It helps to interact with people, you know my husband has lost his taste, his smell, it’s nice but not nice to hear that other people had the same problems that he’s not alone,” said Hagerstown Resident Cindy Swales.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth look during WDVM’s “In focus- Parkinson’s Disease” special that will be airing next Thursday night.