Every week the Movers, Shakers and Sippers club hit the gym, and then the cafe, working out both mentally and physically to keep on top of Australia’s most common major movement disorder.
There are over 70,000 Australian’s living with Parkinson’s Disease, and with an extra 32 diagnosed every day the community needs to do all they can to help solve the deadly neurodegenerative disorder.
This Wednesday is World Parkinson’s Day, and the local support group, who were runners-up in last weeks Seniors Awards, will be holding an information stall at Shoppingworld to let people know what to look out for, where the research is up to, and what else can be done.
While, locally, people living with Parkinson’s Disease are lucky to have both the Movers, Shakers and Sippers and the Support Group, they are unfortunate in the fact that they don’t want have access to a local Specialist Neurological Nurse.
Support Group Chair Len Hutton said that the group has 60 locals on the books, 40 regulars, and unfortunately about six new members every year.
The risks of getting Parkinson’s Disease triples after the age of 65, although, worryingly, in recent years the prevalence of ‘early onset’ Parkinson’s is booming.
“People aged 50 and under account for half of all new diagnoses,” Mr Hutton said.
“Everyone case is different and some regions are worse than others, although fortunately medication has improved, but exercise is the big one.”
For Mr Hutton’s wife Dot, exercise has revolutionised, and vastly improved her quality of life living with the disease, and only in a matter of months, while several other local sufferer’s have all recorded similar results.
Jenni Fergus is even taking on the 100km Camino walk in Spain to raise money for Australian research after being diagnosed in 2014.
Like all neurological diseases the quicker people can be diagnosed the more effective treatments can be, although as it can only be diagnosed by symptoms alone and no other testing, that can be difficult.
“People should watch for slowness, and tremors in the hands and legs as the obvious ones,” Mr Hutton said.
“Everyone is different, but some people will find that their handwriting will get smaller and less eligible as well, and other little things like that.”
Anyone who is having suspicions or issues of that nature should see their GP as a first point of call.
The Support Group is now also looking at getting a group together for carers of people with Parkinson’s Disease.
“The exercise group works as both a physical workout and, like the Support Group, a social gathering, It is just as good for mental health to sit down and talk to each other – that is what we hope for the Carer’s Group as well,” Mr Hutton said.