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Why time for a cuppa and a chat can make all the difference

Today was my first visit to the Parkinsons.Me MoveMe group held at the Loyd Lindsay Rooms in Ardington near Wantage.

MoveMe is an exercise programme for people with Parkinson’s Disease led by Physiotherapists from the Oxford Health NHS Physical Disability Physiotherapy Service.

Whilst everyone was involved in their exercise group, friends, family and partners are invited to a group called MoveMe Mates.

My partner has PD and although I am the champion for encouragement, I have always been a little sceptical of joining a group myself. This time I was the one feeling a little apprehensive. Well I had absolutely nothing to worry about, I wish I had gone along years ago – what a breath of fresh air!

I was warmly welcomed by the group; people from different backgrounds, lifestyles, gender and ages but we all had one thing in common; PD is part of our lives.

Being in the teaching profession, part of our training is based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are: physiological (food and drink), safety, love and belonging needs (friendship), esteem, and self-actualisation. From my first experience, all levels were achieved within the hour (which I may add flew by).

When someone makes you a cuppa it feels good doesn’t it? You get a little glow of gratitude and pleasure from this small act. But did you know, that ‘feeling’ you’re experiencing is actually a release of serotonin. When we have a good flow of serotonin we are most often able to cope, are happy and feel confident. And then there was the cake – Mary Berry eat your heart out!

On a serious note it is a safe and secure environment, everything that is said in the room stays in the room. But how good it was to laugh and be in a room full of laughter. It truly is a family in its own rights. It was real downtime; an opportunity to find out about one another’s lives, families, interests, worries and wisdom. I would sum it up as LLL - learn, lean and laugh.

I would encourage anyone who has a partner, husband, wife or family member living with PD to come along. To quote the famous British actor, Bob Hoskins (who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 68 years old) 'It's good to talk'.

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