My dad is showing lots of signs of PD and keeps saying he’s fine and won’t go to the doctors! Will it benefit him from going? As I know there is no cure at the moment and he seems to be managing ok at the moment , just very slow. I think he would be very surprised to know I think he has PD , he brushes everything under the carpet. So will it harm if he goes to the doctors when he’s ready, when he realises he’s not well?
Welcome to the Parkinson’s UK Forum.
If you’re concerned about symptoms your dad has been experiencing, he should visit his GP… If his GP suspects he has Parkinson’s, clinical guidelines recommend they should refer him quickly to a specialist with experience in diagnosing the condition (and not try to treat you themselves).
It’s not always easy to diagnose the condition. So it’s important that you see a Parkinson’s specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and to consider the best treatment options.
We have more information on what to do if you suspect someone has Parkinson’s via our website here: https://www.parkinsons.org.uk/information-and-support/do-i-have-parkinsons
We also have a confidential helpline with a great team o advisers who you can speak to free of charge about your situation in more detail and receive more support on this. Please give us a call on 0808 800 0303 or email us at [email protected].
Forum Community Manager
You don’t say what age your dad is. I “diagnosed” myself as having PD when I was 47! I never went to doctor until 15 years later! I am now 75 and have never been on PD meds. I am doing fine, but I am 75! Today I awoke and said “this is a PD day.” more tremors than usual but within a few hours I was back to “normal”. Yes, doctors agree that I have PD but they are also amazed at how well, I am. I have friends and family who are much worse off then me, who have PD. Not sure if my path is what makes the difference because they all sought medical help immediately.
Just saying, we are all on different paths. If your dad is doing well, just slower, Slowness was my first sign - I missed that sign but I garden and do the necessities of life. Hope this is encouragement.
The advice and information by Rhea is good advice and the response from Jeff interesting. The fact is the time before diagnosis is a strange and complex period for many and it is not always as simple going off to see your GP because you suspect Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s is a strange condition, it sort of creeps up on you and whilst you may notice a few changes, chances are they can be explained away. At some point these issues will begin to suggest to the person that perhaps it is time to seek investigation but do not think of Parkinson’s as they know little if anything about the condition.
Even if Parkinson’s is suspected many put off going to their GP if they are managing for all manner of reasons not least fear. Your father’s brushing it under the carpet may not mean he is not aware or ignoring signs that suggest Parkinson’s; it may be his way of gaining a bit of time, a breathing space if you like while he tries to understand what is happening to him. I’m guessing here of course and you know your father and I don’t, but it is just to highlight there is usually an alternative to what seems obvious.
You don’t say why you think he is showing signs of Parkinson’s and I may well be saying something you already know here, so apologies if that’s the case, but I will say it anyway in case you’re not aware. First there is not a definitive test for Parkinson’s it is gauged on clinical observation, scans and so on. So even if he went to his GP tomorrow and was quickly referred for specialist assessment there is no guarantee he would get an immediate diagnosis. It wasn’t my experience but I know many wait a considerable time before a diagnosis of Parkinson’s can be confirmed. The second thing to mention is that there are huge issues around medication the big one at the time of diagnosis being should you start meds ASAP or delay as long as possible. There are no right or wrong answers, it is simply finding what is best for the individual.
Now having taken the scenic route I come back to your original question. Rhea’s advice is sound and is ultimately the way to go. I personally however, (and I strongly emphasise it is my personal opinion) don’t think that you should be unduly concerned about your father just now. You say he is managing. I did not go to my GP immediately I suspected Parkinson’s because I too was managing. It was a small incident that finally took me to my GP - I went to put a 20p coin into the Pay and Display and my fingers wouldn’t let go of it. I knew the time had come to book an appt with my GP. You wrote
‘So will it harm if he goes to the doctors when he’s ready, when he realises he’s not well?’
This is not to be critical of you, it is simply my interpretation of what you wrote.
I doubt you will get him to the doctor before he is ready. It strikes me most people reach a point when they accept, know, understand however you want to describe it, that they need to seek help.
Be careful of your use of the words “not well” to most this would suggest feeling sick, ill, out of sorts. Your dad may be slow or tires but he probably doesn’t actually feel ill, rather it is just physically his body is letting him down a bit. It may seem like a trite distinction to you but I believe it can be important. Again I stress it is only my personal view but if it is Parkinson’s, or indeed any other chronic condition, it is a matter of learning to live with it and being perceived as unwell can undermine the notion that it is possible to have a life of quality and meaning even if needing to share it with something like Parkinson’s.
From what you’ve written it seems to me that you think your father will go to his GP when he is ready and because of that my feeling is that there is no immediate urgency for this as he is managing. I suspect what is actually difficult at the moment is your having to see your father apparently develop some symptoms that suggest Parkinson’s and this is causing you some anxiety because he appears to not be acknowledging this. If he does have a chronic condition be it Parkinson’s or something else, you will have to get used to seeing him being slow or looking awkward or generally struggling and that is difficult to see in someone you care about.
It is important however that you don’t take over and see it as helping when in actual fact being slow or looking awkward doesn’t mean help is needed.
I hesitate to write this next bit because however I write it, it will probably sound like a criticism and I truly don’t mean it to however;
my feeling is that you are coming from a perspective largely driven by emotions. Entirely understandable of course, but if you can find a way to take a step back from your emotional reaction and focus on your father, put yourself in his shoes - if you were feeling alright and managing albeit a bit more slowly than usual, would you feel it necessary to go to your GP now? If you began to think something was not right would you really go immediately to your GP or, more likely, would you wait and see if it resolves itself, as these things often do or perhaps you would try and find some information about your apparent symptoms.
My apologies for the length of this post which I hope you can follow and makes some kind of sense but I hope it helps give you a different perspective on your father’s situation and maybe understand his reaction in a different way.