IN recent weeks we have heard an alarming number of stories about people with Parkinson’s being misunderstood or mistreated by the staff of public-facing businesses across the UK.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition. This means that it causes problems in the brain and gets worse over time. Parkinson’s affects everyone differently, but the main symptoms are tremor (shaking), slowness of movement, and rigidity (muscle stiffness). Other symptoms can also include depression, anxiety, hallucinations, memory problems and dementia.
Lack of public understanding can make simple things like getting the bus, paying at a checkout or even going for a coffee with friends daunting for people with Parkinson’s.
To make matters worse, Parkinson’s UK research shows one in every four people have had their condition confused for drunkenness, and one in ten have been laughed at in public due to their symptoms.
We also know that one in three people with Parkinson’s have felt the need to cover up their symptoms, because they’re not seen as socially acceptable. This is completely unacceptable. It’s time to change.
Parkinson’s UK has created a free and easily accessible Parkinson’s in your workplace training package and, via an open letter, the charity is calling on all businesses to roll out the training and make sure their staff understand Parkinson’s and can support their customers’ needs.
To join the campaign and call for businesses to better understand Parkinson’s, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk/UFP
Together we can raise awareness and make society more understanding of Parkinson’s.
Chief Executive of Parkinson’s UK