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HELPING HANDS: The Parkinson’s Club

Thursday December 15, 2005

12/11/05(The Malay Mail) - The Malaysian Parkinson’s Disease Association (MPDA), is hoping to establish the Parkinson’s Club for all Malaysians affected by this brain disorder and their family members.

As Malaysians age, Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a brain disorder that affects many after the age of 60, is becoming a major health burden. It is estimated that about 10,000 Malaysians currently suffer from PD, with tremors (trembling of hands) and slowness of movement.

As there is no cure for PD and the proportion of elderly people in the population is increasing, the number of PD patients is expected to rise.

Dr Chew Nee Kong, Medical Adviser to the MPDA, says the Parkinson’s Club, (PC) which is the first of its kind in Malaysia, seeks to complement hospital services by providing rehabilitative therapy and education to relieve the patient load.

More importantly, the PC will be a place where Parkinson’s patients can meet for companionship and sharing.

“Social isolation is one of the most common problems faced by Parkinson’s patients,” explains Dr Chew.

Most PD patients also suffer from anxiety and depression. The support group can help them to accept and cope with their illness.

“Just talking to each other is a form of therapy – something we cannot provide in hospital,” stresses Dr Chew.

Group discussions and group therapy will also be organised to talk about various aspects of PD to help patients and caregivers understand the illness and learn how to cope with the problems.

The PC will also serve as a Secretariat for the MPDA, with more effective co-ordination of all educational and social activities of the MPDA.

The clubhouse, which is situated at 35 Jalan Nyaman 10, Happy Garden, Kuala Lumpur, is scheduled to open by January 1.

MPDA hopes to include a gymnasium equipped with various rehabilitative aids, such as parallel bars, weight-lifting machine and gym balls, for patients undergoing physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

MPDA is also looking for materials for a mini-library, rest area and entertainment room – including a television set, radio and board games

The PC will operate from 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

You can either donate the items needed for the PC or contribute towards the running expenses.

For details, contact Dr Chew Nee Kong, Medical Adviser, MPDA at (03) 2096-2246, or e-mail: nkchew33@hotmail.com.