THE simple act of walking up and down stairs can be a challenge for a person living with Parkinson's disease.
Researchers are yet to find out what causes the second most common degenerative neurological disorder, and a cure seems even further away.
For sufferers like Ipswich resident Bob Bansgrove, it's a matter of remaining as active as possible and relying on medication to maintain his independence.
The 72-year-old was diagnosed last year after a steady build up of symptoms over a period of about six years.
"I don't really remember how it started, but after a while I had a bit of weakness in my legs," he said.
"I'm at rehab in Bell St at the moment and I just keep doing regular visits to the neurologist - that's about all you can do."
John Richardson, 68, has also been living with the disease for several years and said it was hard to know what to expect when first diagnosed.
"I was a keen jogger and I started noticing stiffness in my left arm - Parkinson's always starts with something small and grows."
Mr Richardson and Mr Bansgrove are both members of the Ipswich Parkinson's Support Group, which was raising awareness of the disease last week as part of Parkinson's Awareness Week.
The week culminated in the Unity Walk in Brisbane, an annual event which raises money for research and support.
A Parkinson's Queensland board member and daughter of Mr Bansgrove, Jane Brennan, said although research was ongoing, the quality of life of Parkinson's sufferers could be improved greatly through physiotherapy and medication.
"It all depends on the patient's own objectives," Ms Brennan said.
"My father being who he is, he wants to live in his own home until the day he dies.
"The rehab centre is important because that's where he does his circuit work, including his core-strengthening activities, which helps him adapt to the disease."
For more information, visit http://www.parkinsons-qld.org.au.