Communication tips for family and friends if your loved one has Parkinson’s

If your loved one experiences speech and communication problems as part of their Parkinson's, there are ways you can support conversations. Here we share some useful strategies to reduce frustrations and help make your conversations more successful.


Make sure you and the person with Parkinson’s can see and hear each other. Facing someone with Parkinson’s can be particularly important to help them communicate clearly and understand you. You don’t need to shout.


Be patient. Give the person affected the opportunity to get involved in a conversation but don’t pressure them to speak if they don’t want to. They may need extra time to respond, so try not to interrupt or walk away.


Try to avoid speaking above noise, such as a TV or radio. Try not to be too far away, for example, in another room, when talking.


Be reassuring and help them to relax if you can see they’re stressed.


If you don’t understand what they say, ask them to repeat it more loudly and slowly. If it’s just a key word you’ve missed ask them to repeat that word.


Try not to pretend you’ve understood if you haven’t.


Try not to talk for the person, unless it’s absolutely necessary.


Avoid finishing their sentences.


Don’t accidentally ignore the person affected by asking someone to speak for them.

A speech and language therapist will be able to give you more advice on what you can do to make communication easier. Find out more speech and language therapy.