Parkinson’s effects people both physically and mentally. You cannot catch it from someone else and although it can run in families, it is very rare. Most people with Parkinson’s are over 50 years old, but it can affect younger people as well.
Although ‘Alzheimer’s and Dementia’ tend to attract a great deal of publicity Parkinson’s is also a disease which is also rapidly increasing due to an ageing population. This is why the Parkinson’s Society is running events likes ‘Parkinson’s Awareness Week’ in April. Their website supplies a wealth of useful information and fact sheets.
People with Parkinson’s may take medication which will typically help with mobility and control of the tremors. The disease can cause a person to feel ‘down’ or ‘depressed’ because it results in chemical imbalance in the brain. Medication can be prescribed to help a person’s mood. The medication does sometimes have hallucinations as a side effect. Independent Living took a gentleman to Salford Hospital Neurology Unit where he described seeing spiders, and even a little boy!
It is rare, but Independent Living has helped someone who has had a ‘deep brain stimulator’ fitted. This is a micro-chip placed in the brain which helps control the tremors. This type of surgery is pioneering but is still very rare and is not suitable for everyone with Parkinson’s. Whilst the results for the person we looked after were very good, it relied on a rechargeable battery and ensuring the technology worked required a great deal of skill and our carers had to have specialist training from the manufacturer.
Here are 6 positive tips from people with the illness
- Find out about medications and then you can have a proper discussion with your neurologist.
- Look at www.parkinsons.org.uk for help, advice and local support groups.
- Listening to music and other activities such as drawing can lift your mood.
- Exercise helps and it can be adjusted to match your condition, it does not have to be a long run!
- Therapy can help – this can include speech and physio.
- Planning and making lists helps to achieve things and you have to accept achieving them might take a little longer.