April 10 -17 is Parkinson’s Awareness Week in Australia. There are approximately 27,000 people living with Parkinson’s in Victoria.
It is a progressive neurological condition that is caused by the decline of the chemical in the brain called dopamine. The lack of dopamine means people have difficulty controlling their movements and it can also impact on their senses. Whilst there is no cure, there are many good treatments available.
John and Audrey Lewis both suffer with Parkinson’s. Audrey was diagnosed 17-18 years ago and John became her carer. He was diagnosed 7-8 years later. At Cumberland View Aged Care – Whalley Drive where they both reside, John has established the Parkinson Support Group. “It’s a way of bringing sufferers together and supporting each other. It can be isolating as those without it don’t understand. We have guest speakers from the local medical support group at Monash and Parkinson’s Victoria. At the initial meeting 25 staff members came; I explained the condition so they can better treat people”. It wasn’t until John was diagnosed with it that he learnt “If the person freezes don’t try to get them to move, instead leave them to come out of it”.
For further information on Parkinson’s Victoria phone 1800 644 189 or go to www.parkinsons.org.au