TIPS FOR GOOD COMMUNICATION

Like all relationships, partnerships between Parkinson’s patients and their loved ones depend on good communication and mutual trust. Here are some ways to help strengthen communication:

  • Set expectations. Family and friends can sometimes feel helpless or feel they can only do so much. Let them know that listening, and offering empathy and support, is often all you need.
  • Be clear. Discuss your needs openly. Whether it’s about your emotions or your symptoms, being as clear and direct as possible, can help.
  • Listen. Listening to others can be just as important. Your family and friends may be able to observe things you can’t and share them with you and your doctor.
  • Be respectful of their experience. You’re living with Parkinson’s, and so are your family and friends. Recognize that their lives have also changed and that they may need time to adjust.
  • Make your relationship about more than the disease. You are each more than Parkinson’s, and you had a life “before Parkinson’s.” Keep in touch with the love and mutual interests that sustained your relationship before the disease.
  • Learn to ask for help from family and friends. Many people want to help, but don’t know what to offer. They may be waiting for you to ask. So be specific about what you need from those around you and you may find they are happy to help and respond readily to your request.
  • Use humor. Sound silly? Maybe, but humor helps people feel better about themselves and the situation they’re in. It can help make a tough conversation easier.
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