Supporting a friend who has Parkinson's
If you have a friend who has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's, you will probably know about the physical changes they are experiencing and will have to deal with as time goes on. If you would like more information, please look here.
As a friend, you will also be very concerned about their emotional well-being, and how you can help them. We have a page specifically about the emotional impact of Parkinson's which is worth reading, not just because it explains the possible effects, but also because it offers good advice on helping people create 'a new normal'. To visit this page, click here.
Perhaps one of the most important things you can do is to help your friend find ways to stay involved in all those activities that you have probably shared - whether it is music, sport, food or growing vegetables.
There will be times when they can't get to that gig or make that match, but don't give up. There will also be times when your friend will appear apathetic or emotionally detached. These are classic symptoms of Parkinson's and can be hard to decode, but as a friend you will hopefully be close enough to work out whether appearances are real or deceptive...
You will need to adapt your friendship to new ways of doing things, or possibly just start doing new things! You will also need to learn to balance gentle persuasion to keep active with the sensitivity to know when they just need time to themselves.
To say that you will also need a sense of humour may sound crass, but it is true, particularly if your friend had one before they were diagnosed! If we are to help our friends 'live with' Parkinson's, as opposed to 'suffering from' it, a healthy sense of humour will definitely help.