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Parkinson’s Awareness Week 2015

Parkinson’s awareness week begins on the 20th of April 2015. The week will highlight events happening all over the country and ways you can support the cause.

Parkinson’s is a condition that involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain. As described by NHS it is a ‘condition in which part of the brain becomes progressively damaged over many years’. Parkinson’s affects one in every 500 and it is estimated to affect 127,000 people in the UK. It is a chronic disorder which gradually becomes worse over time.

Parkinson’s awareness week begins on the 20th of April 2015. The week will highlight events happening all over the country and ways you can support the cause. There are a few activities you can get involved with, we have listed a few below but the rest can be viewed on Parkinson’s UK website:

  • Be kind and share your kindness on Twitter using #upyourfriendly
  • Encourage your friends and family to jump on board
  • Find an event near you and get involved!

History of Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s dates back to ancient times – before being named Parkinson it was identified as ‘shaking palsy’ in AD 175. The condition was further researched in 1817 by James Parkinson. He carried out his research and published his work to encourage other professionals to study the condition. In the late 19th century Charcot, a French neurologist, recognised the importance of Parkinson’s and named the disease after him. Jean-Martin Charcot played an influential part in refining and expanding information about Parkinson’s. The first effective medical treatment was established in 1960 – despite there being no cure the research is still continuing on at a rapid rate. After the progression in treatment and research the Parkinson’s disease Foundation was established in America in 1957.

 

Finding Support for Parkinson’s

Emotional Support

The news of Parkinson’s can be difficult to deal with and you may not want to immediately discuss it with family or friends.

There are many options available to those who are seeking emotional support and want to discuss and share how they are feeling with someone else.

  1. Online Discussion Forum
    If you are wanting to talk to other people who are dealing with Parkinson’s and ask any questions and or share your personal experience, chatting on the discussion forum can help connect you with other people who are also affected by Parkinson’s.
  1. Local Groups
    Meeting up in person can be helpful if you want to talk to people in person and connect with people who have also been affected by Parkinson’s.
  1. Counselling
    Talking to someone professional can help you to have a more frank and confidential conversation. Counsellors are trained professionals who listen and help people through changes and difficult situations. Your GP can refer you to a counsellor. They are also available in hospices, some charities and through private therapists.
  1. Advisor
    You can find more information on support and on anything else you feel you want to discuss by calling Parkinson’s confidential helpline 0808 800 0303.

Exercise

Parkinson’s has an effect on your muscles and joints as they become stiff and rigid making simple movements difficult. Exercising is known to be good for everyone and it is also beneficial for those who are suffering from Parkinson’s.

Regular exercise can reduce stiffness and improve mobility, posture, balance and gait. Some research has also suggested that it can slow down the progression of Parkinson’s – something no treatment is able to do.

Types of Exercises to help with Parkinson:

  • Aerobic Exercise
  • Learning-based memory exercises
  • Yoga Classes
  • Golf
  • Keeping Moving Booklet and DVD

Family Support

Being a new carer can be overwhelming and worrying but fortunately there are many places where carers can share their experience and ask questions.

Carers Trust is a great place to start as you can seek advice and talk to someone on discussion board, live chats or even read about another carer’s experience on the Carer’s blog.

Other alternatives are to find a local support groups where you can talk and listen to other people in a similar situation to. Sharing your experience with others can help you feel less isolated and part of a community. To find your local support group you can contact 0808 800 0303.

You can contribute towards Parkinson’s UK by visiting the website or clicking here.

References:

http://www.pdf.org/about_pd
http://www.patient.co.uk/health/parkinsons-disease
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Parkinsons-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx
http://www.parkinsons.org.uk/content/about-parkinsons
http://www.parkinsons.org/parkinsons-history.html
http://perspectivesinmedicine.cshlp.org/content/1/1/a008862.full