More than 2,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in Victoria every year, but there are limited facilities to provide specialised care for those living with the condition.
That situation is changing thanks to the new 'Living Well' program at North Eastern Rehabilitation Centre in Melbourne.
Launched in February 2018, it aims to strengthen muscles, improve mobility and balance, prevent falls and boost well-being for those who have the degenerative neurological condition.
“We found there was a growing need in our community to provide people living with Parkinson’s with a rehabilitation program that improves the quality of their lifestyle and encourages them to live well,” said the Ivanhoe-based centre's general manager Saman Borazjani.
Parkinson's disease is becoming more prevalent in Australia as the population ages – the latest research shows more than 80,000 people are living with its debilitating effects.
A progressive disease, it affects a person’s control of body movements and cannot be cured, only managed.
One in five Australians with Parkinson's are diagnosed before the age of 50, according to Better Health Victoria. While four people per 1,000 have the condition, the incidence rises to one in 100 over the age of 60.
At North Eastern Rehabilitation Centre, an extensive team of healthcare workers oversees small group sessions for patients, providing tailored rehabilitation that includes strength training and functional task training.
The twice-weekly outpatient program consists of 90-minute sessions spread over two months, with six to 10 people in each class.
After being referred by a neurologist or doctor, each person is assessed by a medical practitioner and a physiotherapist prior to admission, to establish their condition and best treatment.
For more information on the Living Well program, visit the North Eastern Rehabilitation Centre website.