Our History
The Parkinson’s Disease Support Group of the Mid-Hudson Valley owes its existence to the vision and compassion of a local advocate for the elderly, Jacqueline Efram, who ran a successful local social work practice, House Calls for the Elderly. In 1985, appalled over the plight of some of her poorly-served clients who had Parkinson’s, Ms. Efram created a support group for them to provide education, advocacy, and resources. Immersing herself in the literature, researching treatments, lobbying local, state, and national legislators, she became a tireless and knowledgeable advocate. Along the way she enlisted the help of other professionals in medicine, gerontology, and movement disorders.

In early 2010, she gathered a small team of members – some with Parkinson’s and others who were care partners. She wanted them to help expand programs, engage new members, and develop a plan for the future. By the time she died later that year, they had become the volunteer leadership team we have today, our Board of Directors.

Inspired by our founder’s vision, the team set out to build on her accomplishments. In their first year, the team’s actions included:

  • a mission statement
  • 501(c)3 non-profit IRS status
  • an annual fundraiser “Walk Over Water”
  • a lending library
  • a monthly newsletter
  • the support group’s original website
The ensuing years saw membership expand, meeting attendance grow, while enthusiasm and engagement thrived. Resources from all the major Parkinson’s organizations were widely shared. Expert speakers enlivened our programs and educated our members, shared personal stories, promoted hope and resilience in the group, and lasting friendships continued to form. In the first ten years of holding our annual awareness and fundraising “Walk over Water” on the Walkway Over the Hudson, the group raised over $250,000 for the Parkinson’s Foundation for research and education.


Although best remembered for her work with the elderly, Jacquelyn Efram began her career with the Metropolitan Girl Scouts of Detroit. After moving to Poughkeepsie and establishing her successful social work practice, House Calls for the Elderly, she also found time to become a founding member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers and was a longtime member of the National Association of Social Workers. As her reputation as an advocate for geriatric care and end-of-life, humane care issues grew, she was called upon to assess and advise on a variety of care facilities and programs. Meanwhile, she was also active in the League of Women Voters, Meals on Wheels, Hadassah, American Gerontological Association, and The Greater New York Network on Aging. Ms. Efram’s wide-ranging interest in and support of the arts, education, and the environment were reflected in all she did. However, she will be best remembered for her dedication to the Parkinson’s Disease Support Group of the Mid-Hudson Valley which she founded in 1985. For 25 years she focused her considerable talents and expertise on facilitating
this essential regional service, which remains her living legacy.