1) If you have nothing nice to say then don't say it! I know it's a well known saying but a common misconception is that only old people suffer with Parkinson's, it's bad enough that anyone has it regardless of gender, ethnicity or age so by saying something like "Oh, I thought only old people got that" would make me personally (I don't know about anyone else) think "Oh sorry for not meeting the criteria but it's not like I chose to get Parkinson's'". Just think before you speak.
2) Don't stare. Instead of standing there making someone feel even more uncomfortable than they already are whilst they perhaps struggle with opening their umbrella at the bus stop or find it difficult to open a shop door, it won't hurt to ask them if they need help or if they're okay. It will make you feel good on the inside too I promise, go on, try it. Let's be honest, altruism must have played a role in our success as a species.
3) Listen to someone who has Parkinson's and be there for them, it's not contagious. Although James Parkinson first described the condition in his famous piece "An Essay on the Shaking Palsy" almost 200 years ago, people haven't yet acknowledged that there's more to the condition than shaking. Can you imagine what it must be like to live with an incurable condition which prevents you from smiling at a family occasion for a photo as your facial muscles are affected or affects the volume and your ability to speak? I have read so many stories both on the Parkinson's UK forum and also in their quarterly magazine, The Parkinson, about people's families and friends just abandoning them after diagnosis and my Mum and I have also experienced this personally too. How would you feel in that situation when you need your loved ones the most?
If the tips above have made you determined to up YOUR friendly then visit www.upyourfriendly.com to put the advice into action otherwise Major Ted.E.Bear and his friends are coming for you!
Also, I'll be running a bake sale this Thursday at university to raise money for Parkinson's UK but if you're unable to pop by for a slice of lemon drizzle or a chocolate chip cookie then fear not my friends, you can still donate by texting FRIENDLY to 70300 to donate £3!
To find out more, here are the Parkinson's UK contact details :
Helpline: 0808 800 0303
Up your friendly and spread the word! Let's make this Parkinson's Awareness Week the most successful one yet!
Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep (or for this week, Mancunian Bear!) x