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Parkinson’s affects anybody of any age

27 October 2006

Parkinson’s affects anybody of any age

It is important to not let Parkinson’s dictate how we live our lives and to remain positive, is the message Olympic champion John Walker is giving to New Zealanders living with young onset Parkinson’s disease.

Anybody, Any Age is the theme for Parkinson’s Awareness Week which runs from 1 to 7 November, and as part of the week Parkinsons New Zealand will launch a new booklet for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Anybody, Any Age – a guide for younger people with Parkinson’s.

While Parkinson’s is often considered an older person’s condition and the average age of diagnosis is 60, many people younger than this are living with Parkinson’s.

John who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s aged 44 explains in the booklet’s foreword that it will be an invaluable resource not only for people with Parkinson’s but also for their families.

Parkinsons New Zealand National Director Deirdre O’Sullivan said, “Anybody, Any Age aims to address many of the issues faced by people living with young onset Parkinson’s, and includes chapters on emotions and relationships, employment and finances, support for partners, family and friends, and intimacy.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive condition which occurs when insufficient quantities of the chemical dopamine are produced by the brain. This causes many changes in the body’s ability to initiate movement and can affect balance and co-ordination.

Parkinson’s can affect all learned voluntary behaviour including talking, walking and writing. Therefore all parts of life can be affected – from going out for dinner with friends to being able to laugh at a joke.

Anybody, Any Age was launched at a parliamentary reception in Wellington on 25 October.

Parkinson’s Awareness Week will be marked by Parkinson’s divisions throughout the country which will be running their own activities including street collections, seminars, stalls, displays in libraries and supermarkets.

Copies of Anybody, Any Age are available through the Society’s local divisions or from Parkinsons New Zealand’s national office in Wellington, phone 0800 473 463.

ENDS

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