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  • Are there Parkinson’s terms that are more sensitive than others?

    Posted by Mary Beth Skylis on June 2, 2021 at 10:33 am

    I recently learned that using the term “Parkie,” to describe someone with Parkinson’s disease may be offensive to some readers. Although, in most cases, it doesn’t appear to be an intentionally harmful term, it does appear to cause pain for some people. I want to continue my search to find ways to communicate about Parkinson’s in a sensitive way. Are there Parkinson’s terms that you know about that are more sensitive than others? Are there terms that cause you to cringe when you hear them? How might we continue our work to become supportive and effective communicators?

    Russell Dean Boyer replied 2 years, 11 months ago 4 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • David Blacker

    June 3, 2021 at 10:04 am

    Thanks for opening this discussion – I usually refer to myself as having PD; my wife really dislikes the term “Parkie”; she thinks it is a disrespectful term that is too casual. Your quest for optimal communication is worthy and important; I’ve previously written about my ideas on how the perception of PD might influence the course of the condition.


    David Blacker

  • richard gitschlag

    June 3, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    I don’t refer to myself as a ‘parkie’, but I reserve that for the disease itself, as in “The Parkie riding on my back”. That seems to keep it a bit lighter.

  • Jo S.

    June 3, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    I don’t care for the term “Parkie.” To my mind, it minimizes how complex, serious, and debilitating this disease is. It also sounds like we’re all alike, and nothing could be further from the truth.

  • Russell Dean Boyer

    June 3, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    I first heard the term Parkie in something from Australia. I thought it a great term because it cuts Parkinson’s Disease down to size. Now I use it frequently.

    Parkinson’s doesn’t define me. I am a parkie, I am a bibliophile, I am a Rotarian, I am an American, etc. Yes, I have a medical condition called PD and it is complex and difficult as are many diseases. It is unpleasant but all diseases are unpleasant.

    If I know someone is offended by the term I won’t use it about them. If I offended you by using it about you, I apologize.

    But I use the term about myself and others for the reasons above. And if people say I am a Parkie, I agree with them and am pleased because I feel they see PD as just one aspect of me.





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