Liz Scott (Feb 2014)

20140321_Liz Scott_005C_SMALLI am writing this on New Year’s Eve, reflecting on the year just gone and wondering what challenges the year ahead will bring. One thing about getting older is that the years just fly by. It does not seem possible that we are in the 14th year of the millennium and will soon be commemorating the centenary of the first world war.

One thing for sure is that life never stays the same. We have to make changes, adjustments and compromises all the time. This is particularly true when you are living with Parkinson’s. The knack is knowing when to make allowances and when to soldier on. There is a phrase I like which is “accommodation without surrender” – not about giving in, but making compromises and changes to get the most out of life.

What am I talking about? Well, some things that can make a huge difference are: having some help at home, going to a day centre or having some respite care. Social Services can assess you for personal care, day care and respite care. There are also private agencies that offer personal care and a variety of services such as live-in carers, taking you out for social activities, sitting with you while your partner goes out or accompanying you to appointments etc. However, these services are difficult to set up at short notice so if you feel that life is getting more difficult, don’t wait for a crisis to occur before you think about getting help.

If you are a carer, make sure that your GP surgery knows, as they can put you on a register and then you can request a form to apply for the Carer’s Grant. This is an annual payment for carers to spend at their discretion. Carers Bucks is also a very useful organisation and it is well worth contacting them and accessing their advice and support.

If you need any help with your personal care, you should be receiving the non means-tested Attendance Allowance. If you are unsure whether to apply, you can speak to Anita Browne or the Parkinson’s UK Helpline.

Useful numbers: Social Services 01296 383204, Carers Bucks 0300 777 2722, Attendance Allowance 0800 882200.