Parkinson’s In The UK – How Much Do You Know?

Doctor holds a sign saying 'Parkinson's Disease'

There are currently 153,000 people in the UK diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Of these, 62,400 are aged between 70-79, and 43,600 between 80-89. It’s clearly a condition associated with ageing.

There are more than 40 symptoms associated with Parkinson’s. Each individual can experience a different range of these symptoms, so the condition can mean something quite different for each person affected by it. Person-centered approaches are essential for delivering effective care.

Parkinson’s or Parkinsonism?

Parkinsonism represents a range of conditions with Parkinson’s-like symptoms. The most common form is idiopathic Parkinson’s with symptoms including rigidity and slowness of movement. The condition is associated with the dying off of dopamine-producing nerve cells. Idiopathic means we don’t know why this happens but it seems to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

In addition there is vascular Parkinsonism which is caused by restricted blood flow to the brain, such as after a mild stroke. Finally, there’s drug-induced Parkinsonism associated with drugs used to treat  schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. These drugs affect the functioning of dopamine-producing nerve cells.

Therapies and Support

In addition to medication there are therapies that help people manage their symptoms. These include occupational and physiotherapy. Speech and language therapy can also help with dysphagia, which is a common symptom.

With such a wide range of potential symptoms, training is essential to improve awareness and knowledge. The following range of courses will help your team become more capable and confident at dealing with different aspects of Parkinson’s:

Improve Understanding

It’s also worth noting that up to 50% of people with Parkinson’s will suffer from Anxiety or Depression at some point during their illness. A greater understanding among the general public and care staff will certainly help.

So maybe Parkinson’s Awareness Week that runs from 10th April- 16th April 2024 or World Parkinson’s Day on April 11 would be a good time to assess your team’s awareness and knowledge of supporting people with the condition.

If you’d like to have a discussion about improving your team’s awareness of Parkinson’s or other health conditions affecting older people, contact Redcrier today.

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