A new study has revealed that on average, people living with Parkinson’s disease typically leave work four years after being diagnosed with the condition.
Researchers from Oxford Brookes University, in collaboration with the European Parkinson Therapy Centre in Italy, conducted a seven-month-long research project.
The study invited people with Parkinson’s disease to complete a short online survey with the questions focusing on their working life and employment around diagnosis.
The results found that the majority of the 692 participants, with an average age of 58 years, left their jobs 4.22 years after their diagnosis.
Factors such as fatigue, mobility and difficulty with manual tasks were cited as the main contributors to this outcome, with speech impairment and symptoms of depression also playing a part in work ending.
Two-thirds of those who left work indicated they would have liked to have continued working, and that having more flexible work patterns and hours, and better control of their symptoms.
Early treatment of the condition proved to have no overall effect on how soon participants lost paid employment, with researchers committing to investigating the matter further.
Other factors explored in the survey ranged from gender to education – with results finding that men tended to stay in work for longer than women; as did those with a higher education versus those without.
Russell Patten, Director General of the European Parkinson’s Disease Association (EPDA), said: “This data shows that early diagnosis, timely support and information are essential if we want to help people stay in the work system for longer after a Parkinson’s diagnosis.
“People with Parkinson’s being forced to leave work has a huge impact on individuals, families and society as a whole. This issue should be addressed as a priority at EU decision-making level so that effective support tools are implemented in all European countries.”
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