Telling your partner - or your parents

How much you decide to tell those close to you, and how much you want to involve them in the early stages of your condition is a personal decision based on your individual relationships and how you think they will react.

It is important to remember that you will have had Parkinson’s for some time before your diagnosis and the condition is likely to progress gradually, so day-to-day life with your partner and family will not change overnight.

 

Good communication will make it much easier to adapt to your new situation so it often helpful to sit down from time to time to chat about your evolving roles. Finding the right words can be difficult but it may help if you try to put yourself in the position of the person you are telling – what would you want to be told and how?

It is likely that your partner or parents have already noticed changes in your emotions or behaviour, or physical symptoms such as shaking, so they may well be aware that something is wrong. Sharing your diagnosis as soon as possible may make sense of this and alleviate their worries.

Your family will, of course, want to help and support you but they will also be concerned about how the condition will affect them. They may worry about how they might cope as carers, particular if they are elderly. You need to reassure them that there are organisations and support groups to help you both.

Your family will need to understand your condition and the support you require, and you should appreciate them and all that they do for you. With a little compromise your close family relationships can continue as they are, or in some cases they may even grow stronger.

 

If, however, your relationships become strained, you must seek help from close friends, your doctor or professional therapists like Relate. The sooner you can talk about how you feel in secure and non-judgemental setting, the easier it will be to re-establish a positive relationship. It will not be easy, but this really is a case of the 'sooner the better'!

With thanks to the European Parkinson's Disease Association for material on this page. (EPDA).

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