3.3 The impact of communication difficulties

It is important to consider the impact of these symptoms and what assumptions are sometimes made about people with communication difficulties.

Difficulties with communication can be upsetting and frustrating for the person with Parkinson’s and for those around them. If you don’t understand the communication problems caused by Parkinson’s, it can often result in misunderstandings. Sometimes people may assume that those who experience these symptoms are being rude, or they are stupid or deaf. So make sure you don’t make these assumptions.

Think about what you have just read and the exercises you have completed. Now consider a person with Parkinson’s. Their speech may be slurred and quiet, and they may have slowness of thought. They may also have rigid facial muscles, which means they are unable to smile or show emotion on their face.

In an environment where people may not be able to do things by themselves, it can be incredibly upsetting and frustrating if a person is unable to communicate what they need. In your role you must give the person time to respond and try to take the lead in initiating conversation. Understand that although the person might not look or even sound like they are interested in you and what you have to say, this is not necessarily the case.

Exercise 3.2

If they don’t understand Parkinson’s, some assume that people living with the condition are stupid, deaf, rude or even drunk because of the challenges we have discussed. Can you think of a work situation where you have had difficulties in communicating with a person you were or are caring for? What assumptions did you make, what happened and what would you do differently now? Note down your thoughts in your reflection log [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

3.2 What communication problems are caused by Parkinson’s?

3.4 Managing communication problems