Scots living with Parkinson’s face ‘daily harassment’

A majority of people with Parkinson’s in Scotland face harassment and discrimination including accusations of being drunk, according to a leading charity.

A majority of Parkinson's sufferers in Scotland are experiencing harassment. Picture: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images
A majority of Parkinson's sufferers in Scotland are experiencing harassment. Picture: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

A new survey by Parkinson’s UK Scotland highlights the impact of low public understanding on people who live with the condition.

Negative experiences reported by 83 per cent of participants included being laughed at, accusations of drunkeness or unfriendly attitudes due to movement caused by their Parkinson’s.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

More than half (58 per cent) said they have cancelled or avoided social situations because they are embarrassed about their symptoms, or are concerned about how people will react to them.

In a bid to improve public understanding the charity is using World Parkinson’s Day to launch Parkinson’s Is, a campaign to show the reality of life with the condition. The campaign will show the brutality of Parkinson’s and demonstrate how people with the illness don’t let it hold them back.

Annie Macleod, Director of Parkinson’s UK Scotland, says: “The perception that Parkinson’s is an inevitable part of growing old and is just a bit of shakiness couldn’t be wider of the mark.

“Parkinson’s can be brutal and has more than 40 recognised symptoms. It affects people of all ages, and typically has a massive impact on every aspect of someone’s life.

“To help shift this perception we are launching our biggest ever awareness campaign to highlight just how serious the condition is.”

More than 80 landmarks across Scotland are today lighting up in blue to mark World Parkinson’s Day and raise awareness of a condition that affects 12,400 people in Scotland.

That’s around 1 in 375 adults – making it the second most prevalent neuroprogressive condition after Alzheimer’s.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are joining with Parkinson’s UK and others to mark World Parkinson’s Day, and to raise awareness of the condition by illuminating some of our buildings.

“Ensuring that everyone in Scotland with a neurological condition is able to access the care and support they need to live well on their own terms is one of our Programme for Government priorities and why we are developing our first National Action Plan on Neurological Conditions.

“We value the collaboration and input we’ve had so far from people across the neurological community and will continue to engage with them as we finalise and publish the plan later this year, and implement it over the next five years.”