Carer urges others to reach out for help: ‘If you’re feeling the pressure, you are not alone’
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A Norwich couple has encouraged people affected by Parkinson's to get involved with organisations which can support them, as Parkinson's Awareness Week draws to a close.
One person in every 500 people in the UK is affected by Parkinson's, and up to 1,000 people in Norfolk.
And 64-year-old Neil Judges, who lives with his partner Will Bromley in Duckett Close, was diagnosed with the condition eight years ago.
Mr Judges, a retired special needs teacher, said: 'But I knew for at least a couple of years before that things were not quite right, little things started to come together afterwards.'
Before the Parkinson's, Mr Judges and Mr Bromley - who have been together for 24 years - enjoyed a life full of going to the cinema, the theatre, and going for walks.
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And although they still live life to the full, there have been changes.
'It's made me a lot slower in my movements,' Mr Judges said. 'I'm slower to eat, I can be a sloppy eater. My sleep patten is shot to pieces, sometimes I go through a whole night with just one hour sleep.'
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Mr Judges said his energy levels were best in the morning, so the pair adapted to make sure important things were done then.
'But a lot of it is fiddly things,' Mr Bromley, 52, added. 'If you asked Neil to move a big bag of compost that's okay but things like buttons and cuffs are more difficult.'
Mr Bromley, who works in social care, said the condition had brought them closer together.
'It's made us stronger and we can't let it beat us, if you were to stop at every obstacle in life you'd never get anywhere,' he said.
But there had been challenges too, and Mr Bromley felt strongly about highlighting the needs of carers.
'I don't have Parkinson's but I see it every day, people don't realise how much pressure there is on me, they don't realise how much unpaid carers do.
'When you love someone, you do it for life. It's not just Neil whose life changed.'
Mr Bromley said anyone in a similar position should reach out to the support networks available.
'If you're feeling the pressure - and you will - you are not alone. Norfolk Carers have been absolutely wonderful.'
'Coming to a support group has really helped, although we weren't ready for it when we first turned up. We've accepted the situation now and have been going to the Norwich group in Sprowston for the last two years.'
For more information on Norfolk Carers, call 0808 808 9876 or email email@example.com