The online chat platform Zoom is helping an elderly couple living with Parkinson’s disease get through lockdown.
Current UK government advice states that people with Parkinson’s disease should stay at home and reduce social contact as much as possible.
This has meant 80-year-old Elizabeth Pomford from Liverpool and her husband Gordon, who has Parkinson’s, have rarely left the house as lockdown measures have gripped the region.
Gordon has not been able to attend the South Liverpool Parkinson’s group who offer vital support. Instead, the Pomford’s have embraced technology to keep in touch with the group.
Said Elizabeth: “We are both on lockdown due to age and Parkinson’s.
“We regularly have Zoom meetings with our South Liverpool Parkinson’s group. We used to do the meetings in person, but sadly they’re online now.”
The group still organises regular events and social activities online, and offers other resources to help people cope with Parkinson’s during the pandemic.
More than 145,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The degenerative condition damages parts of the brain and gets worse over time. Symptoms include involuntary shaking or tremors, slow movement and stiff muscles.
Studies have shown that mental health problems have increased during lockdown. As those living with Parkinson’s can be prone to anxiety and depression, it is important to receive appropriate support.
Another way Elizabeth and Gordon have used Zoom during the pandemic is to provide vital information for medical research.
Elizabeth said:“We also have Zoom meetings with third year medical students and their lecturers from Liverpool University, where we discuss the initial diagnosis of Parkinson’s, living with Parkinson’s and the future years.
“Gordon and fellow sufferers are the experts, and I am his carer, they gain a lot of information from us.”
Elizabeth and Gordon have been able to help provide information about Parkinson’s to the students, which has been beneficial for the university and the couple themselves, as it provides some much needed social interaction.