22nd April 2016
To mark Parkinsons Awareness Week, students studying Access and Extended Diploma courses in Health & Social Care at York College benefitted from a Q&A session with members of York's Parkinsons Support Group, gaining an insight into the lives of those with the neurological condition and the lives of their carers.
It is not known why people develop Parkinsons as evidence suggests the condition is not genetically linked. People with Parkinson’s don’t have enough of the chemical dopamine and without it movements become slower and people take longer to do things. The loss of nerve cells in the brain causes symptoms of the disease to appear; typically the loss of balance and mobility, the inability to hold things, feeling tired and shakey. There is also another type of Parkinsons which brings on dementia.
The effects of the condition were brought home to students when they were asked to wear rubber gloves to take coins out of a purse. Access to Health Care student Dan Lawrence said: “Loosing the ability to get a tight grip on the coins was a strange sensation. I can understand how hard it must be to carry out the simplest tasks - it must be very frustrating.”
The Access to Healthcare students recently completed an assignment about Parkinsons. Leanne Willoughby commented: “The research we did in class was interesting and speaking with Parkinson sufferers and their carers gave a new dimension to our studies. Hearing people talk about their symptoms, how the condition progresses and how the lives of their loved ones are affected, put a new light on what we had learnt about the disease.”
Following the session, held in the College's Ashfields restaurant, the group held an information stall in the College atrium. Ruth Hall, Information Officer for the Parkinsons group said: “We were particularly pleased to highlight the disease to students studying healthcare courses at York College. We also had the chance to talk generally to students so they have a better understanding of Parkinsons, particularly in spotting the symptoms and learning to live with the condition.”