What Not to Say to Someone With Parkinson's Disease
While what each individual experiences and finds offensive can be subjective, a rule of etiquette when discussing Parkinson’s disease is that it can be touchy for many individuals. Whether an individual faces the day-to-day struggles of PD or not, articles relating to Parkinson's and proper communication can make the lives of those with Parkinson's more comfortable. Certainly, there are numerous misconceptions about the disease, and most patients dealing with Parkinson's are generally open to letting people know what makes them comfortable and what doesn’t. If someone is finding it difficult to express these feelings, however, discussing concerns with a therapist and/or medical professional could be a beneficial solution. Although PD can affect people differently, keeping certain sensibilities in mind at all stages is courteous.
Parkinson’s disease is not an easy condition to live with. It has its own everyday struggles with its symptoms while trying to manage one’s day-to-day activities. There are many misconceptions about the disease, due to which Parkinson’s patients have to face a number of uncomfortable stares and remarks. With this in mind, it is important to maintain a certain level of sensibility and compassion with Parkinson’s patients.
- Try to avoid any discouraging messages: Although some people may think they mean well for the patient, it is best to avoid any kind of negative expression since words can have a significant impact on people. Every Parkinson’s patient has their own opinions on what is insensitive or ill-meaning to them. There are times when such individuals find it difficult to carry out basic household work, so, in those instances, it is wrong to give discouraging comments about their work or their looks. This not only causes a lot of embarrassment, but also leads to unwanted stress, which in turn can worsen their symptoms.
- Try to break stereotypes for those with PD: There are multiple stereotypes concerning this disease, and addressing some of these issues may be uncomfortable, but it is important try to break down barriers for those who face daily, unwanted attention. Never pass judgement on them without understanding what they are going through.
- Do not assume what a patient has trouble with: It can be somewhat rude and insensitive to ask a PD patient how they feel, depending on how close one is to the individual. It is only okay to ask such personal questions if one has a pre-established relationship with the PD patient that is at a more intimate level. Sometimes, patients do not like to refer to Parkinson’s as a disease or a form of suffering, so one should respect their views and use proper vocabulary.
- Try to avoid questions about their experiences: PD patients are often asked a plethora of questions and face judgement. Many times, people drag them, and thus their disease, into the spotlight, which is not nice since it can make them feel uncomfortable. It is important to understand that every PD patient experiences symptoms differently, and the symptoms of an individual patient may also vary from time to time, so there is no such thing as one true representation of Parkinson’s disease.
- Avoid unnecessary questions: A PD patient is going through a rough time struggling with day-to-day work, and on top of that, they are often asked irrelevant questions, which they may not enjoy. Try to avoid any confusion or insensitivity when speaking to people with Parkinson’s. In such cases, it is best to wait for the individual to bring up their problems and issues on their own.
Offering help to those with PD is a kind gesture, but overdoing it can worsen their condition and may lead to unwanted stress as well as false perceptions about the individual.