Finding singing voice helps Como man deal with Parkinson’s

Como residents John and Liz Warburton are participating in Parkingsong. John has Parkinson’s and his wife Liz is his carer Picture: Marie Nirme
Como residents John and Liz Warburton are participating in Parkingsong. John has Parkinson’s and his wife Liz is his carer Picture: Marie Nirme

WHEN his wife Liz suggested that he should go to singing classes John Warburton, who is living with Parkinson’s, rejected it.

“He went along once and he was hooked,” Mrs Warburton said.

“It makes him feel uplifted and there is also a sense of camaraderie between everyone.”

Mr Warburton said the Parkinsong classes, run by Parkinson’s WA, had helped with his voice.

“It’s a different activity, I like being with others who are experiencing the same problem,” he said.

“It’s helped with my voice, which changes from day to day.

“I’ve tried dancing as well; I like them both equally because they work on different muscles.”

Mr Warburton was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in March 2009 after a family member noticed he was changing.

“One of his cousins noticed his hand was trembling and it may be Parkinson’s because John’s uncle also lived with it,” Mrs Warburton said.

“He then went to a doctor and then a neurologist and it was confirmed.

“We both worked for the government, it was hard to deal with the stress for him so he went to five days of work per fortnight before retiring about two years ago.

“He lost his licence three years ago and so we decided to move from Clarkson to Como because it was closer to Perth and medical facilities.

“He is still motivated, he has taken part in table tennis, Tai Chi, yoga, dance classes and now singing.”

Parkinson’s WA support programs co-ordinator Jodie Palmer said singing had many benefits for people living with Parkinson’s.

“It is such a natural mood regulator, relaxing us but also invigorating us when we go to leave the class,” she said.

“Some of our most longstanding members told me at the start that they didn’t have a good voice.

“What is much more important is that you have an interest in music and singing, and a desire to meet new people and to come together with others in song.”

The Parkinsong classes are moving from Nedlands to the George Burnett Leisure Centre from May 2, between 11am and 1pm.

For people who would like to join the class, they can call 6457 7373 or email: info@parkinsonswa.org.au.

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