Did you know that it is “Parkinson’s Awareness Week” 18th – 24th April? Independent Living provides care for several people with the disease and it is our specialism. No two people with Parkinson’s are the same, and a person’s condition can vary daily. Generally, at Independent Living we find people struggle most in a morning, and ‘get going’ towards lunchtime or the afternoon. We have also found that the disease can affect sleep patterns with some people unable to sleep the whole night, waking up every few hours, and being completely awake in the middle of the night. The result of this is that they sleep in the day and develop an irregular sleep pattern.
Most people know that a person with Parkinson’s will have tremors known as ‘shakes’ and often someone has a particular walking style which they develop to try and correct their balance. More advanced symptoms can also include having difficulty swallowing and ‘dribbling’ as controlling saliva is difficult due to Parkinson’s affecting the relevant muscles.
Parkinson’s disease can also make social situations more difficult because of speech issues it can be hard to communicate with someone, and you may have to be patient or ask them to repeat something. A person’s speech can vary throughout the day. People unaware of Parkinson’s symptoms may unfortunately think a person appears drunk!
Generally speaking, Parkinson’s affects people over the age of 50, but it can be found in younger people. In some cases, someone with the disease can experience related conditions such as memory loss/dementia but this is by no means always the case.
6 Facts About Parkinson’s
- Parkinson’s affects the brain, and people have a deficit of a chemical in the brain called dopamine.
- A lack of dopamine can make your body shake, make you move more slowly, cause muscles to be stiff, be painful, and make you feel a bit down.
- A person’s symptoms can vary day-to-day and even by the hour.
- Although no cure exists for Parkinson’s medication can help reduce the symptoms and effects.
- People with Parkinson’s can find life difficult but it does not mean that they cannot continue to leave active and fulfilling lives.
- More about Parkinson’s and details about Awareness Week can be found at www.parkinsons.org.uk