Joy Overs and Rick and Kerrie Follan of the Eurobodalla Parkinson’s Support Group recently travelled to Sydney to join the annual Parkinson’s NSW Support Group Conference.
They joined 90 representatives of 45 Support Groups from across NSW to hear inspirational speakers, receive updates on the latest in research and treatments for Parkinson’s, and to share ideas with other people living with Parkinson’s in their communities.
The presenters included John Watkins AM, the former Deputy Premier of NSW, who has himself been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, neurologist Professor Simon Lewis from the Brain & Mind Centre of the University of Sydney, and Associate Professor Rachel Rossiter, of Charles Sturt University, who is conducting research into the value of Parkinson’s nurses based in regional communities.
There were also demonstrations of music, dance, art, exercise, non-contact boxing and meditation for people with Parkinson’s.
In addition, the event included the awarding of research grants for studies aimed at improving the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s, and eventually finding a cure.
“It was a really valuable experience for us,” said Joy Overs.
“We had a chance to socialise with people in similar positions to us, and to share ideas on what ideas work best for Parkinson’s Support Groups.
“A cure for Parkinson’s has not yet been found, so everyone was very interested to hear about the research being conducted and the outlook for placement of Parkinson’s nurses in communities like ours.”
The Eurobodalla Parkinson’s Support Group meets on a Monday every two weeks. Meetings are informal and supportive, and newcomers are welcome to attend. Phone 1800 644 189.
Parkinson’s is a progressive, degenerative condition of the central nervous system. Nerve cell damage in the brain causes dopamine levels to drop, leading to the symptoms of Parkinson's.
Parkinson's symptoms include tremors, slow movement, stiffness and loss of balance.
They also fatigue, apathy, depression, disturbed sleep, loss of sense of smell, and issues with speech and swallowing.
Symptoms can be managed with medication, exercise and other forms of therapy and support. However, as yet there is no cure.
About Parkinson’s NSW
Parkinson’s NSW is a for-purpose organisation striving to make life better for people living with Parkinson’s, their families and carers.
It hosts the annual Parkinson’s Support Group Conference, and also provides essential services such as counselling, Support Groups, an InfoLine supported by Registered Nurses, education, and fundraising for research. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of people affected by Parkinson’s, while advancing towards a cure.