Singing group in tune with Parkinson’s sufferers


Support through song: Brian and Grace O’Malley.
Support through song: Brian and Grace O’Malley.

MADELEY residents Brian and Grace O’Malley have been singing the praises of Parkinson’s WA’s Parkinsong North classes.

Held each week in Mirrabooka, the singing classes give people with Parkinson’s the opportunity to improve their facial and lung function, use retained skills and develop new skills.

Mrs O’Malley, who has Parkinson’s, and her husband love the class as it helps them connect to a supportive community.

“I have a croaky voice and it’s common with Parkinson’s that your voice gets softer over time,” she said.

“With the singing, and breathing and warm-up exercises, I can moderate my voice.

“Our teacher lifts our spirits and that makes such a difference; the energy of the other people helping each other to feel positive and get through things.”

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Mr O’Malley said the classes helped them share a love of singing and music as well as bringing them closer together.

“The classes are like a family and it’s a lot of fun,” he said.

“They’re a very supportive group and there is lots of camaraderie.

“My favourite song we practise in the class is ‘We are Sailing’ by Rod Stewart and Grace has a love of all of the songs.

“Parkinson’s has brought us together. We’re more considerate of each other and we work as a team.

“We’ve been married for 57 years and the secret to that is sharing interests together and supporting each other.”

Parkinson’s WA’s support programs co-ordinator Jodie Palmer said Parkinsong North had benefits for people with Parkinson’s as well as their partners and family members.

“Attending the classes means they will be able to share in this positive experience with the person with Parkinson’s they care for, and gain a sense of belonging,” she said.

“As a person with Parkinson’s, their sense of structure can be seriously disrupted, so meeting regularly with the same group of people gives them an important anchor.”

Parkinsong North classes are on Thursdays, 10.30am-12.30pm, at Herb Graham Recreation Centre in Mirrabooka.

Call 6457 7373 or email info@parkinsonswa.org.au .