Tips For Effective Communication With A Loved One Living With Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological condition that affects movement and can have a profound impact on the lives of those living with it, as well as their loved ones. One of the most challenging aspects of Parkinson’s disease can be communicating effectively with someone who has the condition. Symptoms like tremors, rigidity, and difficulty speaking can make it hard to understand what someone with Parkinson’s is trying to say, and it can be frustrating for both parties. However, there are strategies you can use to improve communication and make conversations with your loved one more comfortable and productive. Here are some tips:

  • Be Patient and Listen

  • The first thing to remember when communicating with someone who has Parkinson’s is to be patient. It can take longer for someone with Parkinson’s to articulate their thoughts, and they may need extra time to express themselves. Allow them to finish what they are saying before responding, and try not to interrupt or finish their sentences for them. Listening carefully and allowing your loved one to speak at their own pace can help to reduce their anxiety and increase their confidence in communicating.

  • Make Eye Contact

  • When communicating with someone with Parkinson’s, it’s essential to make eye contact. Eye contact can help to establish a connection and build trust between the two of you. It also helps you to pick up on nonverbal cues like facial expressions and body language, which can be an important part of the conversation.
  • Speak Clearly and Slowly

  • When talking to someone with Parkinson’s, it’s essential to speak clearly and slowly. Try to enunciate your words carefully and avoid speaking too quickly. This can make it easier for your loved one to understand you, even if they are experiencing speech difficulties. If you’re not sure if they’ve understood what you’ve said, ask them to repeat it back to you to ensure you’re on the same page.
  • Use Non-Verbal Cues

  • Sometimes, it can be difficult for someone with Parkinson’s to express themselves verbally. Using non-verbal cues like gestures or facial expressions can help to convey your message more clearly. For example, if you’re telling your loved one about a happy memory, you could smile or laugh to help them understand the tone of the conversation.
  • Minimize Distractions

  • When communicating with someone with Parkinson’s, it’s essential to minimize distractions. Background noise or other distractions can make it harder for them to concentrate and understand what you’re saying. Try to have conversations in a quiet environment and turn off any distracting devices like televisions or radios.
  • Be Understanding

  • Living with Parkinson’s can be frustrating and challenging, and your loved one may become upset or emotional during conversations. Try to be understanding and patient, and don’t take any negative reactions personally. Instead, try to focus on the conversation and offer support and encouragement.


Communicating with a loved one who has Parkinson’s can be a challenge, but it’s essential to maintain strong lines of communication to ensure that their needs are met. Remember to be patient, listen carefully, and use non-verbal cues to convey your message. With practice and patience, you can improve your communication skills and make conversations with your loved one more comfortable and productive.

Dr. Manish Gupta
Associate Director
Department of Neurology
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