Raising awareness of Parkinson's in rural communities

The Rural Services Partnership (RSP) is working in partnership with Parkinson’s UK in rural communities throughout England to address issues such as vulnerability, isolation and loneliness, transport and poor access to communications.

Following This World Parkinson’s Day on the 11th April, the RSP wishes to raise awareness of Parkinson’s new campaign, Parkinson’s Is, with our rural networks.

The following survey results makes interesting reading:

Survey shows negative reactions from the public

In the biggest survey of its kind, more than 2,300 people with Parkinson’s have revealed the negative reactions they’ve encountered because of their diagnosis. The results launched today to coincide with World Parkinson’s Day, show 87% have had negative experiences including being laughed at, accusations of being drunk and even being disbelieved when they’ve revealed their diagnosis.

This figure rises to 99% among those aged 40-50, highlighting the additional challenge of being diagnosed with Parkinson’s at a younger age.

Key figures showed:

  • More than half (54%) have said that people don’t believe they have Parkinson’s
  • Almost a third (32%) said their less expressive facial expressions – an effect of the condition - had been misinterpreted as being unfriendly 
  • One fifth (22%) said that their imbalance or slurred speech had been misinterpreted as drunkenness
  • A quarter (24%) had been told they were ‘too young’ to have Parkinson’s
  • One fifth (21%) have felt or been judged for using a disabled parking space or toilet
  • Three fifths (59%) had been told that they ‘don’t look ill’
  • Shockingly, 10% of people said they’d been laughed at because of their visible symptoms.

The findings also highlight the huge toll that public reactions have on those living with the condition everyday - with 57% cancelling or avoiding social situations due to embarrassment about their Parkinson’s symptoms, or fears about how people will react to them.

? To find out more about Parkinson’s new campaign visit their website https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/parkinsons-is


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