Besides being aware of the physical demands of Parkinson’s, did you know that cognitive changes in Parkinson’s affect people’s ability to understand and produce verbal and non-verbal communications? These changes can result in misinterpretation of verbal instructions, facial gestures and body language; delays in processing information; delayed and/or lengthy responses.
When communicating with clients with Parkinson’s, it is best to speak slowly, clearly and carefully, using simple words and short sentences. If necessary, repeat your message using different words. Ask the person to say it back to you, to ensure comprehension. Ask closed, yes or no, questions. Also, be aware of your tone of voice, facial expression and body language. Give people time to respond.
April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Parkinson Society Canada has been supporting Canadians living with Parkinson’s since 1965.
Visit www.parkinson.ca to
- Test your Parkinson’s IQ.
- Download Exercises for People with Parkinson’s, a handy resource for your clients.
This booklet was developed with input from physiotherapists at Canadian Movement Disorder Clinics and reviewed by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.