Expert advice to help improve the health and the quantity of life for people living with Parkinson's disease will be available this weekend at a virtual conference.
Thousands of people living with Parkinson’s Disease have been experiencing mental health challenges and loss of health services since the Covid pandemic began more than a year ago. Parkinson’s is a chronic and incurable neurological illness.
‘Calls to our helpline have doubled because so many medical appointments have been cancelled,’ says Parkinson’s Association of Ireland Chief Executive, Paula Gilmore,
‘Many people with Parkinson’s have physically disimproved and are falling more because they can’t attend exercise classes or physiotherapy.’
‘There has been a definite increase in anxiety, low mood and panic attacks among people with Parkinson's,’ says psychotherapist Dee Daly, ‘It's exacerbated by not having access to exercise or the outdoors whether because of the restrictions or being fearful. This can become a vicious cycle.’
During Awareness Week April (6-11), the Association will reach out to its members, providing online classes in chair yoga, singing, strategies for dealing with low mood and how a good diet can help people to live better with the condition.
An online Parkinson’s conference is also taking place 2-5pm Saturday 10th April at which Dr. Suzanne Timmons, School of Medicine, UCC, will present initial findings from her mapping Parkinson’s Disease project.
‘There is so much we can do to improve the health and quality of life of people living with Parkinson’s,’ she says,
‘Results to date highlight the need for more clinics, more Parkinson's disease specialist nurses nationwide, and greater access to a multidisciplinary team for people with Parkinson’s.’
Richelle Flanagan, Registered Dietician and Parkinson’s Advocate, says ‘Almost half of respondents to a recent survey were not taking a Vitamin D supplement which is concerning given Vitamin D is very important for people with PD, in particular those over 70 and isolating.’
For more see www.parkinsons.ie