The numerous psychological and social aspects of life that influence a person’s ability to manage daily functions. Psychosocial factors include family, friends, and perceptions about health and illness. Often these factors are significant in defining how well a person copes with the needs of a chronic, neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s. People with strong support networks are better able to handle such demands.
Although Parkinson’s disease clearly arises from physical changes in the structures of the brain, a person’s attitudes, fears, worries, level of self-confidence, and sense of self-worth influence the severity of symptoms. Older people who have Parkinson’s disease may remember knowing people when they were growing up who had Parkinson’s and progressed to significant impairment quickly just 40 years ago, there were no effective treatments for Parkinson’s disease. Younger people who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease may have no frame of reference for a chronic health condition and may have developed no mechanisms for coping with significant stress.
support groups are extremely helpful to people who have Parkinson’s disease. They provide information gained from experience and a network of understanding. It is important for the person with Parkinson’s as well as family members and friends to learn as much as possible about Parkinson’s disease, to equip themselves with the knowledge that helps in coping. Family support is crucial, yet family members often do not know what to do or how to help. Support groups, as well as health care providers, can offer suggestions and guidance.