It affects an estimated 10 million people worldwide and around 80,000 people in Australia alone, with approximately 30 new cases diagnosed here daily. Yet despite such numbers, it remains a widely misunderstood condition.
Contrary to the beliefs of many, it is not ‘just the shakes’, nor is it an old person’s disease. Around 20% of Australians diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease are of working age. There is no medical test for it; diagnosis is clinical, and it is worth considering that a sufferer may have had Parkinson’s for quite some time prior to his or her symptoms reaching the point where a clear diagnosis can be made.
The list of possible symptoms is a very long and complex one covering both motor and non-motor issues, with the latter, in turn, including both cognitive and psychological symptoms. For the general public, this wide range of possible symptoms is one of the least understood aspects of the condition. Confusion may be further compounded by the personalised nature of Parkinson’s, with each person with Parkinson’s having his or her own unique blend of symptoms at any given point along his or her Parkinson’s journey.
All symptoms have the capacity to lower quality of life for sufferers, lessen their sense of self-worth, and even lead to social isolation.
The New Voice Choir provides its members – both people with Parkinson’s and others – with the support of a caring, stimulating, and motivated community.
For some, the positive physical and psychological changes can be profound. Musical Director, Linda McIntyre, says, “As the weeks go by, then the months, I watch members’ voices growing in strength and abilities, their breathing becoming more normalised and controlled, their posture and physical confidence improving, facial rigidity easing, their mental confidence growing along with pride at what they’re achieving. And there is real joy flowing through our rehearsals!”
The overriding philosophy of the New Voice Choir is to support its members and improve their well-being and quality of life, and at every opportunity, to raise awareness of Parkinson’s Disease within the general public via performances, speaking engagements, interviews and media in general.
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