These are my partner’s shoes and my shoes. We need these to walk together along the journey of his Parkinson’s diagnosis. Sometimes the road is bumpy and we need strong shoes. At other times my red shoes are just right for walking in the sunshine. When we took our first steps on this journey we had new shoes and we didn’t know how uncomfortable they would be, but if one of us is in pain, the other is there to help. Sometimes the shoes look a bit tired and worn (and so do we!) and, I daresay, we’ll wear out a few pairs, but we’ll continue on our journey. Perhaps you will spare a thought for others who are facing a similar journey – I hope so.
This week is Parkinson’s Awareness Week in the UK. You may have seen articles in newspapers or magazines, on television programmes, Facebook or Twitter. But… I wonder how much you know about Parkinson’s Disease?
What’s the youngest age that someone could have Parkinson’s?
Does everyone with Parkinson’s have a tremor?
What other symptoms are there, apart from having a tremor?
I think you may be surprised by some of the answers to these questions. For example, I don’t know what the youngest age is to have Parkinson’s, but I do know of someone was was diagnosed at the age of 8. (No – that is NOT a typing error, it says EIGHT YEARS OF AGE!)
Many people’s knowledge of Parkinson’s Disease is very limited – you can find out more
from Parkinson’s UK. In the meantime, here is a list of five things that you can do to help someone who has Parkinson’s:
- Please be patient. It can take someone with Parkinson’s longer to do things. Please give them time – they will get there.
- Understand that communicating can be difficult. The person may not be able to move his or her face and so be unable to smile. Speech may be difficult for him or her – please listen carefully.
- Please don’t stare or make assumptions. If a person is unsteady he or she may not be drunk – it might be because of Parkinson’s. Staring at someone with Parkinson’s may make him or her feel worse. Parkinson’s is progressive and there is no cure at present.
- Ask if you can help. Do not try to move someone with Parkinson’s who has frozen – he or she may fall over.
- Try to understand a bit more about Parkinson’s. A little understanding would make life much easier.