What to Say to Someone with Parkinson’s Disease

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

by Sherri Woodbridge |

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Sherri Journeying Through

You’ve probably read articles with titles like, “10 Things Not to Say to a Person with Parkinson’s.” These typically include statements like, “But you don’t look sick,” or perhaps, “My Uncle Nero had that, and his arms fell off.” You’ve heard the possible and the far-fetched, the comments that are better left unsaid.

Well, this column is taking a turn.

Instead of the things you shouldn’t say, I want to share five things that you can say to people with Parkinson’s.

Make sure that your comments are encouraging, informative (in a sensitive way), or bring lightness or humor to the situation.

If you’d like to make a positive difference in the life of a Parkinson’s patient, try my following suggestions of things to say that may change their day for the better.

  1. Is there anything I can do for you? You might be surprised at what a person with a chronic illness may need help with. Tasks from toenail clipping to folding laundry can be difficult with Parkinson’s.
  2. How can I pray for you? Parkinson’s isn’t just about the symptoms. A person with any disease must also deal with the normal chaos of life. A prayer may be what is needed. And why wait to do it before you go to bed? Praying with someone right there and then is often welcomed.
  3. You look so nice today. Compliments can be a rare commodity to a patient when they feel stiff and twisted up. The smallest observation can make a big difference. For example, “Your nails look so pretty,” or “That haircut looks good on you.”
  4. Here, let me help you with that. We want to be independent, but our level of self-reliance is waning gradually. Offers of assistance are usually met with gratitude rather than resistance.
  5. I enjoy your company. People with Parkinson’s can feel as though their life lacks a sense of purpose. Knowing that someone wants to spend time with them can make all the difference to their day.

What positive words do you have for a person with Parkinson’s? Please share them in the comments below.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

Comments

Joan Wikkerink avatar

Joan Wikkerink

For Patients with advanced Parkinsons just being there, holding their hand, listening and loving them for who they are in that day - good or bad. Being patient. Asking for their advice on tasks they once did. Smiling and loving them!

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Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Joan - what great advice! I especially liked “asking for their advice...”. How truea and how important! Thanks for leaving your comment!

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Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

What a great comment, Joan! Thanks for taking the time to add your thoughts and ideas!

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John avatar

John

I am 72, and have had Parkinson's symptoms for 11 years.
The nicest thing people say to me is how inspired they are by my dogged determination to keep producing at a high level. I am still employed.

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Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

John - good for you! Keep going!!!

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Diane Soto avatar

Diane Soto

Fantastic!!! My husband has PD was diagnosed in 2012 and I always use encouraging words to help him in his many struggles.

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Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Thanks for your comment, Diane. He is lucky to have you!

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Jane Fellman avatar

Jane Fellman

Thanks to Becky for sending this to me.Have been wondering where to go to be able to stay in touch with all this info.I look forward to getting your newsletter.
Jane

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Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Thanks for your comment, Jane!

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Tammy Fredericks avatar

Tammy Fredericks

I have learned so much from you. Your stamina and gift of positivity.

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Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Thanks you Tammy, for such a gracious comment.

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Esther Woodbridge avatar

Esther Woodbridge

Love reading your postings Sherri. SO proud of you!!!!

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Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Thanks so much! Couldn’t do it without your encouragement!

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Francesca Seidita avatar

Francesca Seidita

I am still in denial about my diagnosis, but it is good to see people who have been living with PD.

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Sophie Rys avatar

Sophie Rys

We ALL have "Something." I think of all the Great people who had, or have Parkinsons.And I truly BELIEVE that Some day we'll all meet "Up There" and celebrate, to-gether.I Believe.

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wayne millen avatar

wayne millen

People sometimes tell me; "You're looking good" I good naturedly tell them that is the third stage of life. There is (1)youth, (2)middle age and (3)you are looking good

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Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Wayne - LOL!!! Great response!

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