Helping people learn to live with Parkinson’s
At the recent World Parkinson’s Day event at Huddersfield Town Hall are Kirklees Mayor and her consort Christine and Robert Iredale with Parkinson’s UK Huddersfield Branch Secretary Karen Hobson and treasurer Catherine Mills
Although he had developed the classic tremors in his hands, Cynthia says she had started to notice he was also having difficulties with his memory.
As Raymond explained: “My wife has a hearing problem and if she asked me to say something again I couldn’t remember what I’d been saying.”
He now uses a walking frame and a walking stick and they’ve had adaptations to their home. Parkinson’s hasn’t stopped them from travelling but they have found going on holiday, or even out for the day, much more challenging.
Raymond’s mobility issues have been compounded by the fact that at 56 he had to retire because of a form group.
Elizabeth says the children at the school where she was working as a dinner lady had started to notice her hands were shaking. She explained: “I couldn’t clean the plates fast enough and the children asked me if I was cold because I was shaking. I knew then it was time to go.”
Fortunately Elizabeth is mobile and able to get out and about, although in the past 12 months she has experienced greater fatigue, balance issues and a general slowing down. Even simply tasks, such as getting dressed, can prove challenging.
Parkinson’s is not just a life-changer for the patient, it also affects families and carers. As Fred says: “I took voluntary redundancy from my job in a warehouse at 63. Before I did very little around the house, now I have to pull my finger out. There are certain things that I have to do. She struggles to walk a distance now and we used to like walking.”
The couple attend an exercise class for Parkinson’s patients at Shelley Village Hall every Monday morning and Elizabeth still enjoys sewing – a skill that she has managed to retain. Anyone who suspects they may have Parkinson’s symptoms should first consult their GP, who can refer them to a neurologist. Parkinson’s nurse Sarah says not everyone will need a brain scan to diagnose the condition. She explained: “Patients should be seen by a consultant within 10 or 12 weeks and treatment can begin straight away. “If the consultant needs to know more they ask for a DaTSCAN, which is like an MRI scan but more in depth. Leeds General Infirmary is the nearest hospital that does them. “Once someone has had a diagnosis they will be referred
to me.” Sarah runs clinics at Acre Mills and Oaklands Health Centre.
However, further help and advice is available from Parkinson’s UK Huddersfield branch, which meets on the third Thursday of the month at Longley Park Golf Club in Maple Street, Huddersfield. It also runs chair yoga classes and hosts speakers.
For more details visit parkinsons. org.uk/huddersfield or call the secretary Karen Hobson on 01484 680349.