Feeling of being isolated and removed from social contact and other people. When Parkinson’s disease is in its early stages, it typically does not alter the person’s lifestyle. The person can remain active and involved with work, friends, and social activities. As symptoms progress, however, mobility becomes limited. Favorite activities may no longer be possible, and contact with friends must rely on their visits. A person who continues working until symptoms make it necessary to retire or quit loses a strong social network at that time. As well, the person with Parkinson’s may find his or her symptoms embarrassing or too challenging to manage in public.
Loneliness arises from the sense of loss that results from these changes. friendships remain important, however, and are key to overcoming feelings of loneliness. The person with Parkinson’s often is reluctant to ask others to visit; caregivers and family members can help by arranging visits that are comfortable for the person with Parkinson’s. Often there are other shared activities that friends can enjoy together.
Loneliness also becomes a challenge for care-givers, who often feel isolated by the demands of caring for the person with Parkinson’s. It is important for caregivers to find time and ways to maintain their friendships and some level of social interaction. Sometimes a friend can visit the person with Parkinson’s and allow the caregiver a brief respite to get away.