Professor Anne Rogers explains how weaker social ties play a role in helping people manage a long term illness.
With ever more attention on the NHS and how many nurses and doctors are needed to give people the best care, one part of the health equation is going unnoticed – What attention is being paid to the role of the patient and their extended network of relationships? In early 70s West Coast America a piece of research by Anselm Strauss and colleagues examined a set of questions on ‘self-care’.
Around one in 500 people has Parkinson’s, a condition affecting movement, and sometimes also causing pain, tiredness and low mood. There is currently no cure; however drugs and rehabilitation therapies can help to relieve the symptoms. Although not the same for everyone, Parkinson’s is progressive, and in the later stages, people often require additional help.
In our work looking at how people’s social networks help them in living with a long-term condition, we have been able to show the vital role carers play in keeping people actively engaged with social activities. We know that having a diverse range of support and activities are important for health and wellbeing and carers are the key link in helping those they care for access enjoyable social events by providing both encouragement and transport.
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