Today in Australia, 37 people will hear the words ‘you have Parkinson’s’ for the very first time. That’s more than one person every hour, of every day.
Each year, April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. The month provides an opportunity to help us increase awareness and raise funds for Parkinson’s research to support the 100,000 Australians living with the disease.
There is no simple way to deal with the life-changing event of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. But the good news is most people find acceptance and quality of life after the initial adjustment period. Parkinson’s disease (PD) occurs when brain cells that make dopamine, a chemical that coordinates movement, stop working or die.
Because Parkinson’s Disease can cause tremor, slowness, stiffness, and walking and balance problems, it is called a “movement disorder.”
But depression, memory problems and other non-movement symptoms also can be part of Parkinson’s. Parkinson Disease is a lifelong and progressive disease, which means that symptoms slowly worsen over time.
The experience of living with Parkinson's over the course of a lifetime is unique to each person. As it is a progressive disease, it will likely increase stress on the loved ones that support this person over time.
As symptoms and progression vary from person to person, neither you nor your doctor can predict which symptoms you will get, when you will get them or how severe they will be. Even though broad paths of similarity are observed among individuals as the disease progresses, there is no guarantee you will experience what you see in others.
At Five Good Friends, we understand that one of the most important elements to living with Parkinson’s is building a sustainable support network.
Your support network will include medical specialists and allied health carers including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, counsellors and nutritionists. Informal carers – friends, family and loves ones – also form a critical link in getting these support needs right.
Working with your support network, your Five Good Friends Helpers can play an essential role in the health and well-being of people with Parkinson's. Helpers can ensure you remain connected and engaged with loved ones, community and with activities you love.
And as always with Five Good Friends, we know that you, the person with the disease, are in the driver's seat — gathering and guiding the players and the care you want to receive.