It can be difficult knowing how to respond to someone who has Parkinson’s disease (PD). Trying to find one sentence that expresses your concern, compassion and your desire to help can be as difficult as hugging a greased pig. Sometimes our best intentions are taken out of context and we can sound insensitive. So instead of writing about what to say to someone who has PD, I decided to put another coat of butter on the swine and let it loose. Here are 12 things NOT to say to someone with Parkinson’s…
1. “My grandpa had Parkinson’s and once they gave him medication, he’s just fine.”
As I have described in an earlier blog “Not your grandfather’s disease”, the overgeneralization that Parkinson’s only impacts elderly people is common today. Just because your grandfather had this neurological disorder and was able to control it with medication, doesn’t mean that everyone will have the same outcome. We each have a body that is unique to us in the way it manifests symptoms and how we metabolize the medications.
2.“You have Parkinson’s disease? But you don’t have a tremor.”
Each person will experience Parkinson’s in a distinct way; some may have a tremor, others might have rigidity. We are kind of like snowflakes… no two Parkies are alike. Or maybe you’re a fashionable and chic Parkie, you could see it as we all have own pair of designer jeans that we love to wear. Although they may look similar, we each wear our jeans differently.
3. “With medical technology nowadays, I am sure they will find a cure within your lifetime.”
This is a hope that many of us Parkies have, but being realistic offers the brutal honest truth. We might find a cure someday, but that day has not come, so to brush off our fears with an unknown future can be frustrating.