When Brian received confirmation that he had Parkinson’s Disease, he felt his beautiful life shattering into fragments.
He was leading a vibrant and creative life, surrounded by inspiring people. He was a leading figure at the State Reference Library and living out his dream of performing on stage.
In 2010, at the age of 50, he noticed a tremor in his hand during a theatre production. An initial appointment with his doctor was just the start of a long journey.
“So much of this condition was unknown territory to me,” said Brian.
“I was always a robust and healthy person, so my understanding of the illness left me unprepared for what lay ahead.”
Brian’s decline was fast. He reached out to MSWA which provided counselling and emergency respite at Margaret Doody House in City Beach.
“My speech was beginning to fail, swallowing had become difficult and falls were taking longer to recover from. Through the help of an NDIS plan and MSWA nurses, I was able to get the support I needed and adapt to the changes.”
"Talking with fellow residents really helped with those psychological questions, like what would my future now look like and how would it affect my loved ones."
Now requiring high support accommodation, Brian temporarily relocated to MSWA’s Treendale Gardens in Australind until MSWA’s newest supported accommodation facility was opened in Butler in January this year.
Not only is Brian’s new home closer to family, the MSWA Services Centre is next door where he can access physiotherapy, counselling, speech therapy, nursing, occupational therapy, peer groups and education sessions.
“I’m grateful to MSWA that I’ve been able to avoid entering an aged care home. My new home provides a purpose-built unit with my own terrace garden, access to communal areas including a movie theatre and all of the allied health services I need.”
MSWA’s CEO Marcus Stafford AM said with the incredible support of West Australians, MSWA is able to improve the quality of life of many people with neurological conditions.
“Thanks to generous fundraisers and donors, 2019 was MSWA’s most successful year, with many milestones achieved,” Stafford said.
“Among these achievements was the official opening of our new $8M Services Centre and Supported Accommodation facility in Butler which helps keep youthful and vibrant people like Brian out of aged care.”
Brian’s condition has been re-diagnosed as Multiple Systems Atrophy which is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder and a form of Parkinson’s.
He no longer has the freedom to trust his body to operate the way it should, but he has not given up on his zest for life or his passions of writing, listening to music, going to the theatre and being visited by his dog Madeleine. To the delight of his fellow residents, Brian’s often plays beloved piano at the Butler Services Centre, filling the rooms with music for all to hear.
Although Brian is uncertain what the next chapter of this journey holds, he knows that with the support of MSWA, he will be able to continue it with appreciation for all that life can offer him.