From the 10th to the 16th of April, it’s Parkinson’s Awareness Week. The aim of this event is to raise awareness and get more people talking about this devastating condition. All week long, people up and down the country will be taking part in fund-raising events to support those suffering from Parkinson’s and to promote research into new and improved treatment.

To mark Parkinson’s Awareness Week, Parkinson’s UK and the European Parkinson’s Disease Association are teaming up under the hashtag #UniteForParkinsons. By making this hashtag trend worldwide during Parkinson’s Awareness Week, these organisations hope to make this the biggest success yet in the battle against Parkinson’s.

 

Parkinson’s Awareness Week

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition which occurs when a person’s brain isn’t producing enough of the chemical, dopamine. Over time, this causes certain parts of the brain to become seriously damaged.

The main symptoms of Parkinson’s are:

  • involuntary shaking and tremors
  • slow movement
  • stiff and inflexible muscles

It’s estimated that 127,000 people in the UK are living with Parkinson’s. Most of these people start developing symptoms when they’re above the age of 50 although around 1 in 20 will start to show early signs and symptoms before this. Parkinson’s can affect anyone from any walk of life, but men have a slightly higher risk of contracting the condition than women.

There is no cure for Parkinson’s. Instead, patients receive treatment to keep the symptoms under control, prevent deterioration and maintain a comfortable quality of life for as long as possible. Treatment currently comes in the form of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, medication and, in more extreme cases, brain surgery.

 

Get Involved

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Parkinson’s and a lack of successful treatment options. These are two of the main issues that Parkinson’s Awareness Week aims to tackle. The last time there was a significant breakthrough in Parkinson’s medication was more than 50 years ago. This, along with the fact that the medical options available only mask the onset of symptoms for a period of time, are two things that pioneering research can change.

The more people who choose to get actively involved with the activities and events this Parkinson’s Awareness Week, the closer scientists will get to developing more effective forms of treatment.

There are plenty of ways you can support Parkinson’s Awareness Week. Order a free supporter pack online and you will be able to help by handing out informative leaflets, putting up posters and stickers around your organisation/place of work or even by hosting your own fun charity event in your local community.

If you don’t have the time or resources to do anything like this, don’t worry. You can still spread the hugely important message of awareness and get your friends, family and colleagues talking by sharing the hashtag #UniteForParkinsons on social media.

 

What Help is Available?

Whether you’re struggling to cope with Parkinson’s yourself, want to help a friend or family member with the condition, or have recently received a diagnosis and don’t know what to do, the important thing to remember is that there is help out there for you. Parkinson’s Awareness Week is the ideal time for you to reach out.

Parkinson’s UK is a charitable organisation which provides people with Parkinson’s with friendship, advice and support. They regularly host events and social meet-ups in the Richmond area so that you can meet other people experiencing similar issues.

On the first Wednesday and third Tuesday of every month, Parkinson’s UK for Richmond and Hounslow holds a big meet-up. The first is at the Whitton Community Centre in Twickenham and the second is at the Cambrian Community Centre in Richmond. You can find more details about these events here.

In addition to these meetings, the Richmond and Hounslow branch of Parkinson’s UK holds dance classes, coffee mornings and much more- so it is well worth keeping an eye of the upcoming events calendar on the website.

There are also plenty of different ways that Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare can help you. For example, the community neuro-rehabilitation team is an NHS service for people with any kind of degenerative neurological condition who live at home. This team works with both patients and their carers to build independence and assist with daily living. Anyone using this service can decide whether they would be more comfortable receiving therapy at home or at Richmond Rehabilitation Unit.