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Parkinson’s Services and Resources for Patients and Carers in Australia

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Do you know someone with Parkinson’s?

If you don’t, there’s a good chance you will in the next few years.

Parkinson’s Disease is one of the most rapidly growing conditions among Australians today. If you think only seniors and the aged are prone, think again. 1 out of every 5 Parkinson’s patients today are young and working aged or below 50 years old.

This means that you are likely to meet someone suffering from this disease, someone caring for a loved one, or even get diagnosed yourself.

When that happens, do you know where to get the information you need about Parkinson’s symptoms and treatments?

Are you aware of the Parkinson’s support groups and associations that can offer you help?

And do you know where you can volunteer to help Parkinson’s patients?

For World Parkinson’s Day 2016 this 11 April, we’ve put together a list of services and resources for both home or community carers and people suffering from this disease.

Check out the list below to discover where you can get the information you need:

1. Parkinson’s Symptoms, Treatments, and Research

A. Very helpful and comprehensive Information Sheets were created by Parkinson’s Australia, the main body for Australians living with this disease, to help you understand its symptoms and what you can do. Click on the links below to get your own copy:

  1. Description and Causes
  2. Symptoms of Parkinson’s
  3. Diagnosis
  4. Medical Options
  5. Surgery for Parkinson’s
  6. Parkinson’s Plus
  7. MPTP and Drug Induced Parkinson’s

B. Easy to understand and attractive Infographics (like the one below) are also available online so you can post, share, and show them to your own network. These cover topics including:

  1. What is Parkinson’s
  2. What is Dystonia
  3. Clinical Trials for Treatments
  4. Parkinson’s Care
What is Parkinsons from Michael J Fox Foundation

C. There is also a list of Frequently Asked Questions that answer common concerns like:

  1. How do I know I have Parkinson’s disease?
  2. Is there a cure?
  3. Is it hereditary?
  4. How can I help someone with Parkinson’s disease?

D. To get the latest on Parkinson’s research in Australia, Shake It Up Australia Foundation maintains an informative blog on events and projects aimed at discovering new treatments and ultimately a cure.

2. Parkinson’s Support Groups and Associations

Aged Care Support Group

Each state has its own peak body that organises discussions and get togethers on a regular basis. These support groups and associations play a critical role in providing emotional and practical support to Australians living with Parkinson’s. Check out the list below:

  1. New South Wales: Parkinson’s NSW has a wide network of 68 support groups. Contact them at 1800 644 189 to check which one is closest to you.
  2. Victoria: There are 57 support groups regularly meeting in Victoria and you can even set up your own. Visit Parkinson’s VIC to get a copy of their schedule.
  3. Queensland: Parkinson’s Queensland organizes support groups across the state. Click here to view their locations and schedules or contact them at 1800 644 189.
  4. South Australia: Visit Parkinson’s SA to view the locations of their support group network across the state.
  5. Western Australia: Most of Parkinson’s WA support groups meet every month. You can learn where and when to go by clicking here.
  6. Northern Territory: Support groups are organised by Parkinson’s NT in Palmerston. Visit their website to get their schedules and location.
  7. Tasmania: Parkinson’s Tasmania organises support groups in multiple locations across the state. Click here to view their schedule.

3. Caring for Parkinson’s Patients

World Parkinsons Day 2016 in Australia

If you are caring for someone with Parkinson’s, or may care for someone in the future, it is important to understand what support you can get and where to get information.

  1. Support Groups: Carers have their own Peer Support Groups where you can hear from other Australians who are watching over their own relatives and friends as well as  aged and community carers.
  2. Financial Support: You may be eligible to claim Government benefits to reduce the financial stress involved in providing care. These include Carer Payment, if you are caring full time for someone with a disability or for the aged, and Carer Allowance for supplementary payment. Check out Centrelink’s guide to find out if you are eligible.
  3. Counselling and Advice: Being an informal aged carer or disability carer can be challenging. Fortunately, you can get counselling services from your state body for carers on how to cope and deal with the stress involved.
  4. Training and Education: You can get formally trained in how to care for the aged and disabled through aged and disability care training courses. Many Australians who take up courses like these to better care for their loved ones later on pursue careers in aged or community care.

4. How to Volunteer and Support Parkinson’s Organisations

Volunteer to care for those with Parkinsons and disabilities

There are many ways you can help out people living with Parkinson’s and contribute to finding a cure. These include:

  1. Volunteering for non profit organisations to use your skills and join their fundraising and awareness campaigns: You can help organise events, do research for infographics, create videos, and encourage more Australians to get involved. Visit Shake It Up Australia Foundation or your local body (see the list above) to learn about volunteer opportunities near you.
  2. Hosting your own awareness raising or fundraising event: Get your own community involved by hosting morning tea discussions, movie showings, trivia nights, or any activity to get people talking about Parkinson’s. Click here to get a complete guide on how to set up your own event.
  3. Donating for treatment research: If you don’t have time to volunteer or create an event, you can still help out by making a donation that will go towards finding a cure for Parkinson’s.
  4. Participating in clinical trials: Clinical trials are critical to find a cure for Parkinson’s and you can join them even if you do not have Parkinson’s Disease. Fox Trial Finder has made it easy to find trials that are open and in need of volunteers.

Summary

Parkinson’s Disease is becoming more common in Australia. This means that many more Australians may either be diagnosed with this condition or find themselves caring for someone who is suffering from it.

Thankfully, there are plenty of resources today to help you out for World Parkinson’s Day this 2016.

There are free and easy to follow Information Sheets and Infographics to help us understand the causes, treatment, and what to expect of this disease.

Support groups for both patients and carers are regularly held Australia-wide to help you cope with the stress it may bring. If you are a carer, you can even get financial support and counselling services from your local bodies.

Finally, you can also contribute to finding a cure to Parkinson’s Disease by volunteering, organising your own event, or donating for treatment research.

 

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