The national awareness week gives Cornwall Care the opportunity to promote everyone’s right to dignity and respect, both in care settings and in their own homes.
Cornwall Care client John Risden is one of more than 120,000 people in the UK with Parkinson’s, and although it affects his daily life, he says there are many myths surrounding the condition.
The 76-year-old, who has lived at Blackwood in Camborne for the past decade, has progressed Parkinson’s. His symptoms include very slow mobility and difficulty in speaking clearly – but he is cognitively well with no dementia or confusion.
“People assume that because I have Parkinson’s, I will be constantly shaking, but that isn’t always true,” said John, who worked as a labourer at Holmans for 17 years. “Everyone with Parkinson’s has different symptoms. I think all the research being done to help us understand Parkinson’s better is wonderful and I fully support Parkinson’s Awareness Week.”
John fully understands his condition and can make his own decisions. The support he receives tends to be around his mobility. He manages his speech well with support from the team at Blackwood but occasionally gets frustrated with his very slow mobility. A Parkinson’s nurse is on hand to help out when staff feel John may need additional support.
John said: “The team at Blackwood support me in every single thing I do. I have no complaints whatsoever.”
Parkinson's is a progressive neurological condition which occurs when the brain gradually stops producing the nerve-controlling chemical dopamine. Over time symptoms such as tremors, slow movement and stiffness get worse and can make every day activities, such as eating and getting dressed, difficult or frustrating.
Blackwood has 41 clients, three of whom have Parkinson’s, although not all of Cornwall Care’s homes have clients with the condition.
Douglas Webb, Chief Executive of Cornwall Care, said: “Parkinson’s Awareness Week gives us a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the condition and to celebrate excellent care standards.
“As Cornwall’s largest provider of care for older people, we see first hand the impact of Parkinson’s on the lives of our clients and those who care for them. By highlighting the condition and encouraging people to look at what they can do to support those living with Parkinson’s, we hope to help improve the quality of life for our clients and their carers.
“There are huge opportunities for those living with Parkinson’s in Cornwall to socialise, be creative and enjoy themselves. For us, dignity plays a key part in that. It is a fundamental part of the organisation and underpins every aspect of the high quality of all our services. We strongly believe respecting dignity is a basic human right – not a discretionary extra.
“This means treating our clients – and indeed our staff - as individuals, giving them choice, control and a sense of purpose in their lives. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort to make a big difference. At Cornwall Care we promote dignity and respect all day, every day.”
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