A Better Life with Parkinson’s

“My visits to Rainbow are an important part of my ongoing therapy for Parkinson’s. I always leave feeling 100%. My confidence in handling the symptoms of ‘shakes’, balance and walking improved with each session of Conductive Education.”

The Need

The impact of a degenerative neurological condition on a person’s life, and the lives of those close to them, can be shattering. It can be difficult or even impossible for people affected by Parkinson’s to undertake those everyday, self-care activities that we take for granted. They may no longer be capable of standing or walking independently, and they can even become too embarrassed to go out because of difficulties caused by their condition, such as being unable to eat and drink without spilling or unclear speech. There can be a negative effect on their self-esteem and confidence, and they may be at risk of becoming depressed and isolated.

There can also be a significant detrimental impact on the lives of partners or family members who may become carers – often at the expense of their own careers and personal lives. Without intervention, people with Parkinson’s and their families and carers may face a significant deterioration in their quality of life.

The Solution

Last academic year, we provided 231 Parkinson’s group sessions. In these sessions, service users learn how to manage their condition, through techniques that can minimise the negative impact of their condition, as well as practical strategies to negotiate everyday tasks and situations, which promote functional independence. The aim is to maintain or improve mobility, balance, co-ordination, and fine motor skills, whilst rebuilding and maintaining the ability to perform activities as independently as possible.

Parkinson’s Group sessions focus on activities including:

  • Improving awareness of posture
  • Skills necessary to manage the condition on a daily basis, such as bed mobility and transfer skills
  • Using rhythm to improve initiation and tempo of movements
  • Learning strategies/techniques to overcome “freezing” and “off” periods
  • Learning techniques to control tremor and involuntary movements
  • Improving fine manipulation to assist with writing
  • Improving facial expression, volume, to assist speech and communication.

Partners, family members and carers can also sit in on the sessions, which allow them to learn techniques that can be applied at home to help the service user to become more independent. This improves the wellbeing of the service user, but as they increase in independence, the quality of life for family members and carers also improves. It can help to give carers a sense of purpose and involvement in the positive management of their loved one’s condition. Furthermore, sessions conclude with the opportunity for the group of participants and their carers to get together over tea and coffee and be able to talk and share experiences with others dealing with a similar condition. This can be very beneficial in reducing isolation.


Staffing costs (including salary costs and training) £82,261
Support costs (including equipment, consumables, administration and session room costs) £9,084
Total annual project cost £91,344