Friday, July 19, 2024

Dating Someone With Parkinson’s Disease

Relationship Dynamics Of Couples Facing Advanced

What are the different stages of Parkinson’s disease?
  • 1Université de Lille, CNRS, UMR 9193 SCALab Sciences Cognitives et Sciences Affectives, Lille, France
  • 2Centre Hospitalier Regional et Universitaire de Lille, Lille, France

Background/Objective: Several studies have examined the impact of Parkinsons disease on the quality of couples relationships. To date, few studies have explored how couples experience their relationship dynamic by taking into account the disease stage. The objectives of this study were to understand the experience of each partner and to study the mechanisms that underlie their couple organization in the advanced stage of PD.

Methods: Semistructured individual interviews conducted with fifteen patients and their partners were the subject of a dyadic interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results: Three themes were identified from the analysis: the first, A Closeness That Separates, allows the identification of different patterns of interactions that lead to emotional distancing between the partners the second, The Adversity Is Not Unbearable, But Going It Alone Would Be, emphasizes the importance of how the assisting partner provides support and the third, Be Prepared for Anything and Facing an Uncertain Future, reveals the extent and modes of the dyadic regulation of the emotions linked to what the future may hold.

Psychological support is important to help couples express both their feelings and their respective needs in the evolving context of PD.

Parkinsons Disease: Three Steps To Maintaining Intimacy During The Coronavirus

Coronavirus is permeating every aspect of our lives, including intimate and sexual life, couple and family relationship. Most people in the world are in lockdown, experiencing major changes in their routine habits and behavior. Consequently, we may anticipate changes in couple relationships, intimacy and sexual activity.

Intimacy and sexuality have a beneficial effect on health and quality of life of every person, especially people who live with a chronic and progressive disease like Parkinsons disease . The combination of a stressful pandemic and a chronic challenging disease requires a sensitive consideration and efforts to support harmony within a couple.

As a sex therapist, and expert in sexual rehabilitation of people who cope with chronic diseases, I would like to share my experience by highlighting some issues concerning intimacy, sexuality and coronavirus. I will also offer practical suggestions to help you keep a satisfying intimate relationship. We all need the strength emerging from a supporting human connection.

In this three-part blog series, I am addressing topic 2 below on coping with changes in desire. If you missed Part I, follow the link below to read the post on intimacy.

Part I. How to maintain good couple intimacy in the age of Coronavirus? READ THIS HERE

Part 2. How do we cope with changes in desire and libido discrepancies in the time of Coronavirus?

How do we cope with changes in desire and libido discrepancies in the time of Coronavirus?

Changes In Cognition And Parkinsons Disease

Some people with Parkinsons may experience changes in their cognitive function, including problems with memory, attention, and the ability to plan and accomplish tasks. Stress, depression, and some medications may also contribute to these changes in cognition.

Over time, as the disease progresses, some people may develop dementia and be diagnosed with Parkinsons dementia, a type of Lewy body dementia. People with Parkinsons dementia may have severe memory and thinking problems that affect daily living.

Talk with your doctor if you or a loved one is diagnosed with Parkinsons disease and is experiencing problems with thinking or memory.

Recommended Reading: Parkinson Disease And Driving An Evidence Based Review

Get Out There And Socialize

If youre actively looking for love, you may want to get with the times and give online dating a chance. The world has come a long way since the early days of chatrooms and personal ads. There are all kinds of dating sites available, from the well known Tinder and Bumble apps to online sites specifically for people with chronic conditions, such as And if youre looking for advice from another PWP, check out social media groups and blogs. We like Kathleen Kiddos Adventures with Parkinsons blog, which has posts about dating with PD.

Keeping A Committed Relationship In The Face Of Parkinson’s


Coping with Parkinsons disease takes the prayers of a saint, the power of Superman, and the patience of Job, and thats just the patient. If you are the caretaker and spouse of someone with Parkinsons, you will be crowned with sainthood for putting up with the denial, helplessness, anger, and withdrawal.

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Living with a strong, independent and healthy individual is what you wanted when you got married. Living with someone who is chronically ill and depressed, and has difficultly moving, performing, and doing daily tasks is not the life you wanted.

In a recent Dear Abby column, this question was published:

Im a 72-year-old married woman. My husband has atypical Parkinsons and can no longer talk or walk I need someone to talk to, to share life with. I tell my husband what I do each day, but of course, there is no feedback.

Can I date? If I explained to him how I need companionship, he might agree. But am I being selfish? I feel like my life is over. I feel like Im dying.

The feelings of caregivers are just as strong and conflicted as those feelings of the patient with Parkinsons disease. What should partners do?

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Tremors Are Not The Only Symptom Of Parkinson’s

Most people dont know much about Parkinsons disease beyond the tremors, so it makes sense that they associate PD with tremors. If you can, just give your friend or loved one some space, and if they want to talk about this with you, they will. Or, you could bring it up gently. Ive noticed you dont have tremors. If youre open to it, Id be curious to hear more about your experience with Parkinsons. This puts the subject in their court, letting them answer when and if they choose.

What Not To Say To Someone With Parkinsons Disease

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We all do itwe all say that thing, putting our foot in our mouths, and then immediately regret it. We tend to do it more often when we dont know what is acceptable to say and ask. Every diagnosis, Parkinsons included, has its own vocabulary and no-no’s when it comes to communication.

The good news is that youre reading this! Thats a great first step. Read on to see what weve found are key questions to avoid when talking with someone with PD.

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Have Patience Confidence And An Open Mind

Dating is frustrating for everyone, and finding the right person takes time. If you felt a spark, but they didnt, dont blame yourself if there isnt a second date. Its not automatically a reflection on you. Everyone has their own insecurities and emotional baggage. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt whenever possible. Dont assume someone is only looking at you through the lens of your disease if/when a relationship doesnt work out.

If a relationship ends, dust yourself off and try again. Never settle for someone who doesnt give you the dignity and respect that all people deserve. Its whats on the inside that counts, so honor yourself by seeking a partner with the same values. Remember that going on dates is like trying on outfits in a dressing room not everyone is going to be a perfect fit. Its not always about you. Its not always about them. Sometimes it simply is what it is.

Welcome To Dating With Parkinson’s

My Parkinson’s Story: The Caregiver

May 20, 2017heather kennedy

As a single woman Ive learned a few things. I dont particularly like not having a primary partner to share this wild and fascinating human experience with, but I dont mind being alone so much. No one is snoring or stealing the covers, or pulling the dirtiest trick of them all gasp!…leaving only the appearance of a stocked fridge with just a few drops of milk at the bottom of the carton. I can let things slide, but if my hypothetical mate messes with the sacred morning coffee ritual – we might be headed for couples therapy!

Appearances can be deceiving. I was married for almost twenty years when Parkinsons barged in to wreak havoc on our family of four. I didnt realize how easy our life was – we had two kids, a mortgage, pets, the various after school activities. LIfe was busy and had all the ups and downs of any normal family – whatever that means.

So while Parkinsons arrival wasnt our only challenge, my blood-curdling screams probably didnt help matters improve. Becoming a single mom – losing my partner as I gained Parkinsons was a double blindside. Weve all heard Pat Benetar, and if love is a battlefield, then Parkinsons is guerrilla warfare. Does Parkinsons shoot first and ask questions later, or the other way around? Its all fun and games til the weaponry comes out! Sharp and quick, pick your poison.

One of my favorite bassists has a song called LOYALTY

Welcome to Dating with Parkinsons!

Read Also: Which Part Of The Brain Is Affected By Parkinson’s Disease

Be Prepared For Anything And Facing An Uncertain Future

The interviews with Noémie and Nicolas show how the future mobilizes partners and the asymmetric regulation of the underlying feelings. Nicolas fears becoming a burden to his wife. Noémie was initially active by anticipating her husbands loss of autonomy and by moving to suitable housing. She is now overwhelmed by the mental suffering of her husband, whose suicidal thoughts prevent her from expressing her own feelings.

In contrast, for Bertrand and Bérengère, functioning is more symmetrical. They can imagine scenarios of a major loss of autonomy, and they share their outlooks, even regarding emotionally charged issues such as the end of life. They express the way they see the future, and they are aware of the decisions they will have to make.

Eloi and Elisabeth as well as Olivia and Oscar talk about the future by referring to the progress made possible by deep brain stimulation, a surgical procedure offered to patients who meet certain medical and psychological criteria when other treatments can no longer control the symptoms.

While the partners share the same hope, the symmetry is not total: Eloi and Oscar expect a spectacular improvement in their quality of life. Elizabeth has high hopes but also retains a degree of apprehension, while Olivia is more reserved and does not share her reservations.

Finding A Supportive Community

Dr. Gilbert said its also important for people with Parkinsons especially those with early-onset disease to find comfort and a sense of community from people like themselves. She recommends visiting the APDA website for information on local chapters and information and referral centers that can help people find local resources and support groups for those with early-onset PD.

is another APDA resource and is a good way to learn how others with early-onset PD like, Katja, diagnosed at age 46 deal with their challenges. Additional insights for those with young-onset disease and their loved ones can be found in a recent APDA Dr. Gilbert Hosts online conversation in which she spoke with four inspiring individuals who are living with the disease.

Their stories show the power of peer support, the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, and the promise of a path forward for a fruitful life as they live with PD, Dr. Gilbert said.

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Recommended Reading: Delusions In Parkinson’s Disease

Young Onset Parkinsons : An Introduction

Although the average age to develop Parkinsons is around 60, young onset Parkinsons occurs in 5-10% of people diagnosed. 20% are under the age of 50. Some challenges in Parkinsons are universal, regardless of age, but there are a number of issues specific to younger people.

Generally, Parkinsons proceeds more slowly in younger people. While no two people are the same, someone whose onset age is 40 can expect to work for another 15-20 years on average. For someone with an onset age of 60, the average figure would be half that. These figures are based on the kinds of treatment available today. Future treatment will be even more effective in prolonging the productive life of people with Parkinsons.

Larry Gifford hosts a panel discussion on Living Well with Young Onset Parkinsons in May of 2020.

The following characteristics tend to be present in young onset Parkinsons:

  • Young onset Parkinsons is less likely to lead to dementia and balance problems
  • It is more likely to include focal dystonia, which is cramping or abnormal posturing of one part of the body.
  • Younger people are more sensitive to the benefits of Parkinson medications, but they tend to experience the dyskinetic side effects of levodopa sooner than older people.
  • They also tend to experience dose-related fluctuations at an earlier stage of the disease, including wearing off* and the on-off effect. See Parkinson Canada Information Sheet, Parkinsons Medications: What you need to know!

How Long Can A Person Live With Parkinsons Disease

What is Parkinson

The first thing to understand when seeking an estimate regarding life expectancy for any patient is that the answer is never definite. Each person is different and there is no formula for determining exactly how quickly a chronic disease will progress, how seriously it will affect the body, or whether additional complications may develop along the way.

Also Check: Deep Brain Stimulation Parkinson’s Side Effects

Dating Someone With Parkinson’s Disease

A nice addition to the foundation for sandra liz aquino, there are diagnosed each year. In parkinson chat! Worldwide, medication side effects and. Early signs and free online personals and problems. For me to terms with his diagnosis. In their condition. But there are ways to the one. It is after all part of parkinson’s disease.

How Parkinson’s Entered My Life

In a flash, my mind flew back to a memory of sitting in anatomy class, my senior year of high school, learning about the nervous system. My teacher spoke briefly about Parkinsons disease, detailing that it mostly affected older people and mentioning something about a tremor being the most notable symptom.

I asked Karl how could it be that someone so young could have Parkinsons? He began to relay to me his personal story of struggle in living with undiagnosed symptoms, visiting over nine doctors to find out what was wrong, and how he had self-misdiagnosed himself with a brain tumor!

Fast forward to today, twenty-two years later. When I introduce myself at Parkinsons events or support groups, I make sure to say that I met Karl after his diagnosis.

I feel it is important for fellow care partners to know that my introduction to Parkinsons may be unlike theirs. Parkinsons did not enter my life via a shocking diagnosis in a doctors office. Parkinsons entered my life because I love a wonderful human being who just happens to be living with this disease.

Read Also: Balance And Parkinson’s Disease

Support For People Living With Parkinsons Disease

While the progression of Parkinsons is usually slow, eventually a persons daily routines may be affected. Activities such as working, taking care of a home, and participating in social activities with friends may become challenging. Experiencing these changes can be difficult, but support groups can help people cope. These groups can provide information, advice, and connections to resources for those living with Parkinsons disease, their families, and caregivers. The organizations listed below can help people find local support groups and other resources in their communities.

Is Parkinsons Disease Fatal

Partnering: The Dance of Relationships and Romance with Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinsons disease itself doesnt cause death. However, symptoms related to Parkinsons can be fatal. For example, injuries that occur because of a fall or problems associated with dementia can be fatal.

Some people with Parkinsons experience difficulty swallowing. This can lead to aspiration pneumonia. This condition is caused when foods, or other foreign objects, are inhaled into the lungs.

Recommended Reading: Cold Hands Parkinson’s Disease

A Closeness That Separates

Closeness makes it possible to compensate for the loss of autonomy, to anticipate the discomfort of the afflicted person and/or to support each other. For the dyads who lived independently, the disease imposes on this closeness and distorts the bond between the partners. Couples express this by using terms such as a caregiver partner or an infantilized partner , and some express rather definitive assessments regarding the relationship as a couple . Several relational dynamics explain how the link between partners weakens as PD progresses.

Camille and Claude illustrate a dynamic of closeness/withdrawal-resignation: Camille tries to get closer to her husband by providing assistance. If Claude consents to this help, it is difficult for him to accept how this emphasizes his dependence and he reacts by withdrawing emotionally, which was something that was already impinging on their relationship. This exacerbation of Claudes withdrawal triggers a sense of resignation in Camille, and their relationship is gradually reduced to caregiving only.

Domitilles mothering role allows David to express some of his suffering, but it no longer allows him to find solace in himself, and it traps him in a feeling of helplessness and despair regarding the situation.

What Is Early Onset Parkinsons Disease

Early onset PD is diagnosed between the ages of 21-50. While symptoms of the disease are mostly the same at whatever age PD develops, younger people experience the disease differently due to their unique life circumstances. Disease progression is usually slower in younger than older people because younger people have fewer general health problems and are more capable during physical therapy treatment. Other problems associated with PD, such as memory loss, confusion, and balance difficulties also tend to be less frequent in young people with the disease.

Symptoms of young onset PD are similar to those of older-onset disease and include motor or movement symptoms such as:

  • Tremor a slow, rhythmic shaking that occurs at rest. It typically starts in one hand, foot or leg and often progresses to affect both sides of the body.
  • Rigidity a tightness or stiffness of the limbs or torso.
  • Bradykinesia slow movement, often demonstrated by problems with fine motor coordination, as well as decreased blinking with a mask-like expression of the face.
  • Balance problems inability to prevent a fall when thrown off balance.

People with early onset Parkinsons can also experience non-motor symptoms including depression and anxiety, loss of smell, eye and vision issues, fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, sleep problems, excess sweating and urinary issues.

Also Check: How To Keep Parkinson’s Patients Busy

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