“It’s vital that our health and care providers act now to ensure that services are in place to meet people’s needs.”
Dr Carl Counsell, honorary consultant neurologist at NHS Grampian and clinical reader at the University of Aberdeen, is researching what happens over time to people who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
He said: “Ou r re s e a rch demonstrates that Parkinson’s has a profound impact on health and wellbeing, particularly for those diagnosed at older ages.
“People with Parkinson’s are three times more likely to experience a major fracture than people of the same age without the condition.
“And there are increased complications with dementia, too – people with Parkinson’s are six times more likely to develop dementia as people of the same age without the condition.
“Five years after being diagnosed, half needed some support with basic day-to-day activities like washing and dressing – and after a decade almost everyone did.
“People with Parkinson’s have a very high risk of hospital admission. More often than not, these admissions are unplanned and lead to longer stays in hospital.
“In 2015-16 more than 4,000 people with Parkinson’s were admitted to hospital in Scotland.
“On average they stayed almost 18 days. That’s more than 75,000 bed days that already have to be resourced, and as the prevalence of Parkinson’s increases, the demand for services is only going to increase.
“Care and support from a team of health and social care professionals can help people with Parkinson’s to live well with the condition, and reduce emergencies – but health and social care services must be in place.”
Tanith concluded: “Parkinson’s already has significant impacts on our health and social care system. People with Parkinson’s and their families want access to expert care and support to help them to manage their condition as well as possible for as long as possible.
“These alar ming figures demonstrate that Sc o t t i s h Government, and health and social care providers must commit resources to support the growing numbers of people with Parkinson’s now, and plan for increasing needs in the future.”
Parkinson’s affects one in 375 adults in Scotland.
Those with Parkinson’s are more likely to be men (57 per cent – nearly 7000) than women (43 per cent – more than 5200).
Men aged 50-89 are one and a half times more likely to have Parkinson’s than women of the same age.
Almost 1800 ( 14.6 per cent) of people with Parkinson’s are under the age of 65.
Around 10,400, that’s 85.4 per cent, are over 65. That’s about six in seven people with Parkinson’s. Of those, over one in three are aged over 80.
Most people who get Parkinson’s are aged 50 or over but younger people can get it too.
Younger people may not experience the same risks as older people with the condition.
Almost 6000 people live with more advanced Parkinson’s, where medication does not manage the symptoms effectively.
This often results in them requiring more intensive hospital and care services.
● For advice, information and support, visit www.parkinsons. org.uk or call the free, confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.
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