Hi everyone,

This month many of our regular activities have been taking place, including visits from our therapy animals, and sessions involving arts and music. We’ve also celebrated Easter, and our English residents celebrated St George’s Day too.

It’s been Parkinson’s awareness month during April, and in this blog I’d really like to concentrate on the condition, and how we manage and adapt to it in our care homes.

In simple terms, Parkinson’s causes problems in the brain, and tends to worsen over time. It is a progressive neurodegenerative condition, where the brain loses some of its vital nerve cells. It manifests itself in a variety of ways, notably in a patient’s movement and is often seen in the tremors and balance issues that arise as a result. Those perhaps are the more obvious and common signs that people often come across, but it can also cause other issues, which we always have to be aware of.

There is still considerable debate in the medical world as to the cause of Parkinson’s. It may be a mix of genetical and environmental factors. Though there is no ‘cure’ as such, but there are medications and therapies that can help to manage symptoms, and it’s these we concentrate on in helping those of our residents who have the condition.

Treatment tends to revolve around medicines that increase the level of dopamine in the brain. These can be tailored to each individual’s needs. We create a care plan for any of our residents who have Parkinson’s, making sure their individual needs are catered for, and that their medicines are taken routinely

In the advanced stages of Parkinson’s, people may have more complex care needs. Our palliative care focuses mainly on managing a person’s symptoms and keeping them as comfortable as possible.

Parkinson’s awareness month aims to highlight many of these issues, but also stresses that Parkinson’s doesn’t have to define the individual. Those living with it can still actively engage and make positive contributions. In our homes we’re very aware of the benefits of staying active. We encourage those who can to participate in our Zumba sessions no matter how limited their involvement may be. We also recognise that engagement with music can be beneficial to some. It’s very much a matter of being respectful to each individual’s needs, and facilitating them to make their own choices

Our ethos is to make sure each individual has the best environment and treatment for their own needs. Parkinson’s is different for everyone, and some find creative and innovative means of fighting back against the condition. We like to help people find their own ways of doing the things they enjoy. Sometimes it can be simple tasks, enjoyment of art, music or nature, or even just getting through a bad day, as each day isn’t always the same.

We share the aims of World Parkinson’s month, in that we encourage those moments of laughter and light that lifts us all up. Yes, it can be a very challenging condition, and sometimes a scary on one on diagnosis, but in our homes we aim to let each individual who lives with Parkinson’s have the opportunity to get as much as they possibly can from life. I’d like to thank all our staff who work so hard to make sure that those with Parkinson’s lead as full and healthy a life as possible with us.

That’s all for now folks, look forward to catching up with you again soon.