World Parkinson's Day
In a survey, launched to mark World Parkinson’s Day (11 April), 91% of people living with Parkinson’s in Northern Ireland said they’d had negative experiences as a result of people not understanding their symptoms including being laughed at, accusations people assuming they are drunk or unfriendly due to movement problems caused by their Parkinson’s, and even being disbelieved when they’ve revealed their diagnosis.
Key figures for Northern Ireland showed:
- Over half (56%) have said that people don’t believe they have Parkinson’s
- Over a fifth (22%) said their less expressive facial expressions – an effect of the condition - had been misinterpreted as being unfriendly
- Almost a fifth (17%) said that their imbalance or slurred speech had been misinterpreted as drunkenness
- Over a quarter (26%) had been told they were ‘too young’ to have Parkinson’s
- Half (51%) had been told that they ‘don’t look ill’
- Over a quarter (27%) have felt or been judged for using a disabled parking space or toilet
The findings from Parkinson’s UK Northern Ireland also highlight the huge toll that public reactions can have on those living with the condition everyday - with 57% cancelling or avoiding social situations due to the negative impact of public perceptions.
The charity is launching Parkinson’s Is, a campaign to show the reality of life with Parkinson’s www.parkinsons.org.uk/parkinsons-is