Parkinson Canada advocates for more awareness and support for disease leading up to World Parkinson's Day
Parkinson’s disease is on the rise globally with Canada experiencing among the highest rates of prevalence with approximately 100,000 individuals across the country currently living with Parkinson’s.
Despite the misconception that it only affects those older than 60, it is a complex brain disease that can impact adults of all ages with varying symptoms, including shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance and co-ordination. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have only made accessing care, support services, therapeutics, and other resources more difficult for those living with the disease and their families.
In Renfrew County and Ottawa individuals can take part in the Pembroke Parkinson’s Support Group, with sessions held virtually over Zoom or participants can also over the phone. In person meetings have been suspended due to CVOID-19 restrictions. The local support group is facilitated by Marianhill staff and allows group members to share their individual experiences and support one another in their desire to be fully engaged in life noted Mary Buckley, Pembroke Parkinson’s Support Group facilitator.
April is Parkinson Awareness Month and April 11 is designated as World Parkinson’s Day. This month is dedicated to bringing awareness to the disease and celebrating volunteers within communities that are committed to supporting the resilience of those affected.
COVID-19 has taken the focus as an acute world crisis, overshadowing various life-threatening illnesses, postponing treatment, and essential support. Those within the Parkinson’s community will be hit particularly hard, creating a potential wave of health consequences that will have a devastating blow on this community that is already referred to as a “pandemic” by neurologists, according to a release issued by Parkinson Canada.
Parkinson Canada noted the incidents of the disease are on the rise with more than 25 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s in Canada every day and the number expected to double by 2031.
Parkinson’s disease is difficult to diagnose often resulting in people going years, sometimes even decades, before getting diagnosed; Parkinson’s has the third-highest direct health-care costs annually and people with the disease have the second highest annual out-of-pocket expense at $1,100 for medications alone, next to those with spinal cord injuries.
COVID-19 has only made it worse, according to Parkinson Canada. The pandemic has severely backlogged the health-care system with Canadians in some regions already facing wait times upwards of two years before they can see a specialist to determine if they have Parkinson’s, and the current public health context has only made matters worse.
Parkinson Canada advocates for those living with the disease and provides ongoing support while funding innovative research that will provide Canadians with improved treatment options, access to care, and improved quality of life. Parkinson Canada’s newest campaign, No Matter What, inspires hope and resilience for Canadians living with Parkinson’s and their families further communicating the commitment to overcome obstacles and support Canadians living with Parkinson’s to live well today, while working together on the path to a cure.