We’re looking forward to hearing talks by two fantastic presenters; Dr. Angela Roberts from Western University and Professor Heather Keller from Waterloo University. Between the two presentations, our conference attendees will participate in a Motion Break. After lunch, there will be an opportunity to listen to a moderated fireside chat with our distinguished speakers and contribute to an interactive Q&A session.


April 12, 2024

St. Mary’s Golf & Country Club
10:00am – 3:00pm


Eating Well for Parkinson’s  — A healthy diet can benefit us all. People living with Parkinson’s Disease can benefit from following a diet high in antioxidants and fibre and low in saturated fat. Symptoms can be managed by considering timing of protein and increasing intake of vitamin C, fibre and caffeine. Parkinson’s can also increase risk for osteoporosis, unintentional changes in weight, swallowing and chewing difficulties, constipation and dehydration, all of which have a diet management strategy. This presentation will review these issues, providing recommendations to mange your diet.

Building Effective Strategies for Communication Challenges in Parkinson Disease – Fostering Better Health, Relationships, and Quality of Life  — Communication is an essential behaviour for humans – and one we often take for granted. Parkinson disease makes communicating more challenging for people and their family, friends, colleagues, and healthcare providers. Changes in communication (difficulty finding words, losing train of thought, speaking quietly) typically worsens with disease progression but can occur early for some people. These changes can significantly impact social interactions and relationships – contributing to social isolation. Social isolation has been linked to several negative health outcomes including increased risk for dementia. Effective communication allows people to express their unique identity and convey their wants and needs. Strong communication with healthcare professionals aids in timely interventions, optimizing care and quality of life.

Dr. Roberts will provide an overview of the current research on communication changes in Parkinson disease. The talk will focus on strategies and interventions for improving communication and facilitating social engagement. The talk will focus on how Involving family, friends, colleagues, and healthcare providers helps to create a supportive network that strengthens social connections and health.


One of four PSSO conferences happening during the month of April, the Central Region’s Living Well Conference is being convened on April 12th, 2024 in beautiful St. Mary’s. Join us for a local day of learning, enjoyment, and fellowship!


Dr. Angela Roberts

Dr. Angela Roberts holds a joint appointment in the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Department of Computer Science. She is also a speech-language pathologist. She is a founding Co-Director of Western’s Collaborative Specialization in Machine Learning in Health and Biomedical Sciences.

Her impactful research program improves cognitive aging outcomes through rigorously validating connected speech signatures that detect and monitor cognitive decline, building phenotypes and predictive models of cognitive aging trajectories (dementia to extraordinary cognitive aging), and developing dyadic interventions that address communication challenges experienced by persons with
Parkinson disease, dementia, and their families. Her influence extends to health charity organizations as a research board member for Parkinson Canada and an author of internationally distributed patient and
family education materials.

Professor Roberts’ work is funded by the Ontario Brain Institute, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, NSERC, and the National Institutes of Health (U.S.).

Professor Heather Keller

Professor Heather Keller’s research is focused on improving the health and quality of life of older adults through food and nutrition. “Frail older adults living in the community, recently transitioning from hospital and/or living in long term care residences are my focus”. Persons with dementia and their care partners are a specific group of interest. Dr Keller uses mixed methods to answer a variety of research questions such as identification of malnutrition through implementation of screening and diagnosis processes and preventing poor food intake through multi-component interventions that address food access, food quality and mealtime experience. Her research is practice focused with knowledge translation and implementation science components.