Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition. This means that it causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time.
Around 145,000 people live with Parkinson’s in the UK it’s the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of the chemical dopamine because some of the nerve cells that make it have died.
There are many potential signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s and each person can experience them differently. It’s important to note that the order and severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person. The three main symptoms are tremor, stiffness and slowness of movement.
The nature of Parkinson’s Disease is progressive, meaning that it gets worse over time. There are 5 stages read more below and at the Parkinson’s Foundation
Individuals experience mild symptoms that generally do not interfere with daily activities. Tremor and other movement symptoms occur on one side of the body only. They may also experience changes in posture, walking and facial expressions.
Symptoms worsen, including tremor, rigidity and other movement symptoms on both sides of the body. The person is still able to live alone, but daily tasks are more difficult and lengthier.
This is considered mid-stage. Individuals experience loss of balance and slowness of movements. While still fully independent, these symptoms significantly impair activities such as dressing and eating. Falls are also more common by stage three.
Symptoms are severe and limiting. Individuals may stand without help, but movement likely requires a walker. People in stage four require help with daily activities and are unable to live alone.
Stiffness in the legs may make it impossible to stand or walk. The person requires a wheelchair or is bedridden. Around-the-clock nursing care is needed for all activities. The person may experience hallucinations and delusions.
It is important to be aware that people can stay able for some length of time. One of Advocacy Matters finest volunteer advocates had lived with Parkinson’s for years. Whilst he was unsteady and had a pronounced tremor he didn’t let that stop him. He advocated for many people in Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham and supported them to achieve some fantastic outcomes. He has sadly passed away in recent years but will never be forgotten by Advocacy Matters and the people he advocated for. He was a truly courageous and generous man.
If you would like to volunteer to be an advocate follow this link. If you are living with Parkinson’s and feel you require the support of an advocate to be heard follow this link.