Former Norwich mayor speaks out after people with Parkinson's accused of being drunk
PUBLISHED: 15:16 11 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:49 11 April 2019
A Norwich man living with Parkinson’s has said people are too quick to make assumptions after a study found that one in five people with the disease have been accused of being drunk.
Former Lord Mayor of Norwich Roy Blower has been living with Parkinson’s since 2009. The 76-year-old said the disease affects everyone differently with a lot of symptoms.
He said: “How I discovered I had Parkinson’s was when I was Lord Mayor, I would do about 700 hours of appearances and I found I was getting very tired. After an investigation I was told I had Parkinson’s.
“You can’t put your finger on Parkinson’s, there isn’t one medicine that can fix it. I take about 20 pills a day, the regime is very hard to live with.
“If it wasn’t for my wife being constantly on-call I wouldn’t be alive.”
The survey, by Parkinson’s UK, found that about 22pc of people with the condition said others believed they were under the influence of alcohol due to lack of balance or slurred speech. About one in 10 have been laughed at.
Mr Blower, a former city and county councillor and president of the Norwich City Independent Supporters’ Association, added: “It’s like someone comes and puts a guillotine down. I feel fantastic then it comes down and I don’t want to talk to anybody and I don’t have any strength. People say to me ‘you look really well’ but it’s not always the case.
“When people see someone with Parkinson’s, whether that be in a pub, shaking - they assume ‘he’s had too much’.
“But it is not that, people make assumptions very quickly about certain things, but we are all different.”
Mr Blower said that many people he speaks to who also have Parkinson’s are effected differently.
He added: “Someone I was talking to at the Norwich game said that his memory is affected by Parkinson’s.
“But I’m lucky at the moment that I have my memory and I’m still able to get involved with the club.”
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological condition causing symptoms including involuntary shaking, slow movement and stiff or inflexible muscles.
About 2,300 UK adults with Parkinson’s disease took part in the survey.
The survey and Mr Blower’s comments come as Parkinson’s Awareness Week launched on Monday.