Communicating with Parkinson’s

For many people with Parkinson’s, every day with the disease is different and communicating those changes to loved ones can be challenging. Compounded with the speech problems that affect around 90 percent of people with Parkinson’s confusions are understandable and very common.

Speech difficulties are particularly common in more advanced Parkinson’s disease.  Whilst speech therapy strategies should be adopted by all patients ideally in the early stages of the condition, many patients will go on to have increasing difficulties making themselves heard.  

1.Professor Simon Lewis Suggests using a Voice Amplifier

2. Connect with a speech therapist . Many people with Parkinson’s experience changes with speech. A speech therapist can help people with Parkinson’s increase the volume and strength of their voices.

3. Try other forms of communication, too, like email or notes. Leave a personal note or send an email may help to make communication easier.

4. Use Facetime to call.  By using Facetime for long distance calls you can pick up on visual cues and even lip read if their voice fades.

5. Separate your loved one from the disease.  Make sure you take your frustration out on the disease and not the person. As angry and frustrated as you might feel your loved one is also finding the situation challenging.

6. Learn as much as you can about speech difficulties – Being as informed as possible on what to expect from Parkinson’s can also help families have better conversations.

7 Be patient – Many people with Parkinson’s take some time to respond and many times it is hard to understand. Remaining calm and keeping the conversation casual can help them from becoming stressed or embarrassed.

Learn more about the symptoms of Parkinson’s and how these may vary over time