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  • Only 22% of people in the UK are confident that they would recognise the symptoms of Parkinson’s
  • 1 in 6 believe Parkinson’s and dementia are the same thing
  • Close to 50% are unable to spot crucial early symptoms of Parkinson’s, such as changes to handwriting
  • World Parkinson’s Day promotes awareness of Parkinson’s Disease in over 90 countries around the world
  • Nearly 85% of people in the UK feel that they wouldn’t know how to care for a loved one with Parkinson’s

Despite two people being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every hour in the UK, and 145,000 individuals living with the illness across the country, nearly 80% of adults still feel that they wouldn’t be able to spot the symptoms in a loved one.

Findings of a nationwide survey conducted by UK home care provider, Cera, showed that only 22% felt confident in their understanding of the symptoms of the disease. Cera commissioned the study and released its findings to coincide with World Parkinson’s Day in an attempt to raise awareness of the early signs of the illness.

Whilst 85% of the 2,000 members of the public surveyed were able to identify small changes in walking or posture as early signs of the disease, and 75% identified rigid, stiff, or inflexible movements as initial symptoms, there was more confusion around other important indicators.

Nearly 50% of people were unable to identify the common Parkinson’s Disease symptom of someone’s handwriting getting smaller. Similarly, 64% were wrong in their assumption that those with early-stage Parkinson’s would be unable to complete simple day to day tasks, whereas in fact, people in the first stages of the illness can still lead relatively normal lives.

Confusion around the disease and its symptoms was also highlighted by the fact that one in six people (16.7%) believe that Parkinson’s and Dementia are the same thing, while 20% consider the disease to only impact older people when in fact it can affect anyone at any age.

Worryingly when it comes to caring for a loved one with Parkinson’s, nearly 85% of adults have a lack of confidence in their ability to do so.

This lack of confidence is most prevalent in older age groups, with only 8% of those aged between 55 and 64 positive in their ability to care for a loved one with the condition. This contrasts to nearly a quarter of 35 to 44 year-olds possessing the confidence to know that they could care for a relative following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

Sarah McEwan from Cera said: “Parkinson’s is a disease that impacts the lives of thousands of people in the UK. And while it continues to affect families day in day out, it’s clear that people often struggle to pick up on some of the early signs of the condition. Whilst there may be an understanding around core symptoms such as tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement, there is a distinct lack of knowledge around other key early indicators. Handwriting getting smaller is very common, but it’s often missed by family members who don’t know what to look out for.

“World Parkinson’s Day is a fantastic way of raising awareness of this illness and letting people know what symptoms to look out for and what they can do to help a loved one with Parkinson’s Disease”

World Parkinson’s Day is an international day that raises awareness of Parkinson’s Disease around the world. Dominic Graham, the European Parkinson’s Disease Association’s Operation Director said: “Parkinson’s is a complex and individual condition, with several motor and non-motor symptoms that are too often unknown to the general public.

“April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and all the world celebrates World Parkinson’s Day on 11 April. As EPDA, on World Parkinson’s Day 2017 we launched the #UniteForParkinsons campaign, for the global Parkinson’s community to speak with one voice, and in 2018 we produced together with Parkinson’s UK a powerful video to show the world what Parkinson’s truly is.

“This year, we are carrying forward the #UniteForParkinsons awareness call and supporting the #UNITED campaign launched by a group of young-onset people with Parkinson’s – we urge everyone to get onboard with these awareness initiatives, show their support and learn more about the different aspects of Parkinson’s”

Cera’s survey also illustrated the lack of confidence about starting a conversation with a loved one that was displaying the early signs, with 30% feeling they would struggle broaching the subject.

Over three-quarters of people also have little understanding of where they should turn to for support if a loved one was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Cera Care has compiled this guide with further information about the symptoms of Parkinson’s and common misconceptions, as well as answering the most frequently asked questions about the disease.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Cera specialises in helping people find the right home and live-in care for their loved ones and provide continued support for as long as it is required. The tailored home care packages offered by Cera ensure whatever the needs of individuals and families, they’ll always be well cared for.

The European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA) is the only European Parkinson's umbrella organisation; our members are Parkinson’s organisations from nearly 30 European countries. We have been championing and working with the global Parkinson’s community for 27 years.

 

As the leading voice for Parkinson’s in Europe, we provide information and resources to all Parkinson’s stakeholders, raise awareness of the disease’s complexities and impact, and advocate for concrete policy change that benefits the Parkinson’s community.

 

Our vision is to enable all people with Parkinson's to live a full life, while supporting the search for a cure.

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