Mr Patel is a kind, thoughtful man with a good sense of humour. He came originally from Gujarat and now lives with his wife in East London. Until 3 years ago, Mr Patel was very active and would manage a two hour walk without even feeling tired. He told me that for some years, he walked six miles to work, stood up for most of the day serving in a shop and then walked six miles back home.
So it must have been a terrible blow when he was diagnosed in 2011 with Parkinson’s Disease and Glaucoma. The eye problem took his sight away completely and Parkinson’s left him with the effects associated with the disease: tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement. When Mr Patel agreed to have an About Me Support Worker his request was simple. All he wanted to do was to go for a walk twice a week. But that walk and all it represented was so important.
We began by walking round the block – a walk which was familiar to Mr Patel but one that he had not done for several months. Our progress was slow but we had our landmarks. Mr Patel would ask me if we had reached the Post Office yet or the local school. As Mr Patel gained in strength and confidence, we extended the walk, moving our goal post as we reached the last one. I believe Mr Patel’s experience of walking long distances has helped. But I also think it has been of benefit to have a Support Worker experienced in guiding and dedicated to that 90 minutes twice a week when the walk is our project. It is something we share and something we both make a commitment to.
The Parkinson’s UK website states that exercise can slow down the progression of Parkinson’s in a way that no other treatment can do. Mr Patel is certainly putting this to the test and with great determination.
Sister Chris CSF
Senior Support Worker for London, About Me