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People With Parkinsons Face Public Rudeness Finds Large Study

April 20, 2015

Being mistaken for drunk is one I recognised instantly. It has happened to me and commonly happens to people with my disability, Cerebral Palsy, who can walk.

A survey of 2,000 people with Parkinson’s has found that more than half have experienced rudeness or hostility from the public.

The charity Parkinson’s UK said being stared at, laughed at or mistaken for drunk left some sufferers feeling “intimidated” and “invisible”.

It wants the public to show more patience and understanding.

Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological condition which causes tremors, slow movements and rigidity.

There are around 127,000 people with the condition in the UK.

Professor David Burn, clinical director at Parkinson’s UK and consultant neurologist, said the impact of thoughtless reactions from the public could be devastating.

“Patients I see in the clinic are already battling a myriad of neurological symptoms including anxiety, depression and insomnia.

“The last thing they need is to feel like a zoo exhibit when they step out of their front door.”

Trapped at home

The survey, carried out by Parkinson’s UK, also revealed the unseen effects of negative public reactions on people with the condition.

Almost one in five who had experienced this kind of reaction said they would rather skip a meal than venture out to the shops.

One in six said they felt trapped inside their homes after being on the receiving end of public humiliation.

To try to improve this situation, Parkinson’s UK is urging people to show small acts of kindness and be more friendly towards others who may be living with the condition.

Steve Ford, chief executive at the charity, said: “We certainly don’t expect people to be experts in knowing whether or not the person taking a little longer at the till, or looking unsteady on their feet is living with Parkinson’s.

“But by signing up to our new campaign with a small pledge – to smile or be that bit more patient – you can have a real impact on the lives of people with Parkinson’s.”

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