The process of, and human need for, association with other people. Social interaction helps people to feel connected with one another and with events and circumstances in their communities. Isolation becomes a concern for many people with Parkinson’s disease, either because their symptoms limit their ability to seek social interaction independently or embarrass them to the extent that they do not want others to see them. Being with others becomes difficult, too, because the lack of facial expression that Parkinson’s can cause (hypomimia, or masked face) sometimes leads others to perceive incorrectly that the person with Parkinson’s is ignoring them or is not interested in what is happening.
Family members, friends, and caregivers provide an important circle of social interaction for the person with Parkinson’s. As much as possible, the person also should get out among other people, if only by taking walks in public places or going out to shop. This kind of interaction, even though brief and superficial, provides an important sense of connectedness and a pleasant distraction from routine. This helps to sustain self-esteem and to take the person’s mind off the Parkinson’s for a while. People who enjoyed being around other people before the diagnosis of Parkinson’s will still enjoy this interaction after their diagnosis, even though it becomes more difficult.