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3rd April 2019

Health and Social Care students aiming for careers in the caring industries had an insight into the realities of living with Parkinson’s from members of the Parkinson’s UK York Group who visited the College on an awareness raising mission.

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Following a light lunch in Ashfields, the College’s training restaurant, Access students studying Health Science Professions met up with members of the group who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and their carers. After a presentation on Parkinson’s, showing how the condition affects parts of the brain and becomes progressively damaged, students had plenty of time to discuss the symptoms, care and medication associated with Parkinson’s.

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The condition has three main symptoms; involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body, slow movements and stiff and inflexible muscles. In an attempt to understand the condition, some students volunteered to wear rubber gloves, trying to get coins out of a purse - simulating what is like living with Parkinson’s. The carers in the group were also able to offer their own experiences, speaking about their personal observations and care regimes. They offered students useful tips and advice on what to look out for when caring for a person with the condition.

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Access to Health Science Professions student Georgia Clark is working toward becoming an Adult Nurse - she said: “Before this session I was very naïve about Parkinson’s. I didn’t realise there a wide range of symptoms and that everyone is affected differently. It was interesting to hear the stories and reflections of those living with Parkinson’s, and also to chat with their carers. This session provided ‘real’ information about Parkinson’s and I feel more informed. I do think more education is needed to raise awareness of the condition.”

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Fiona has lived with Parkinson's for eight years, for her the condition is progressing very slowly.  She says: "It's good to talk to people about the condition, it gives me a chance to explain my symptoms.  It's particularly beneficial knowing that these students, who want to work in health care professions, will have a better understanding of Parkinson's and can spread the word to others about ways in which those living with the condition can be helped."

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