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What is the proper protocol

Hello all: I came upon this situation the other day and it caused me to think of my own circumstances with PD and how I interact with others. So, here's what happened... I was walking with my wife as we often do along a quiet "rail-trail" near the water. It was a beautiful day and many people were strolling along.

I am acutely aware of my tremors and over the last 3 years they have gotten progressively worse. I don't make a fuss about it and don't expect others to point it out. However, When I notice the tremors in other people (strangers) as I did on the trail I wasn't sure if I should mention it in passing like,
" Hey hello, I notice you have tremors, do you have Parkinson's? I also have it and was wondering how you're getting along"

I don't have a problem talking to strangers. I always think of the saying from Will Rogers, "Strangers are only friends I haven't met yet".

So, what is the consensus? How would you feel if a "perfect stranger" started a friendly conversation concerning your PD? I personally don't mind talking about it no matter who brings it up. I always look at it as an opportunity to maybe connect them with this incredibly informative and friendly website.

Take care my friends.
And remember, try to find something in your day to make you smile for even a moment. A picture, a word, a song, a look on a face, a familiar voice, anything.

even a joke like " A horse walks into a bar, The bartender says "Hey, why the long face?"

  1. Hi Jeff T, I like your horse joke! It is a fact that it takes more facial muscles to frown rather than smile. I just smiled!
    You present a great but tough question. As a care partner for my dad with PD, I'm trying to think like he would if someone approached him to ask question about his tremors or other obvious physical symptom of PD. I would say that it shows your willingness to approach a stranger with your friendliness and vulnerability. I would say you might consider their body language and vibe that you get in the situation. If you feel your gut is saying "go for it" then by all means ask "how are you today?" Maybe first approach them with small talk that leads into asking them more details about their tremors and/or whether or not they might have PD. A gentle approach is my thoughts. I hope you are having a great summer! Blessings on your day, Suzanne Troy, fellow moderator,

    1. Pre-COVID I was blessed to be a part of a large group of PWP at Parkinson Voice Project ( and was able to observe many ways that PD presented itself. Seeing these differences has given me the confidence to approach likely PWP's. I've only been wrong once and the feeling of cammeradery and the chance to encourage and empathize with the PWP and accompanying caregiver is well worth the risk.

      1. Just adding another thought to this conversation: Since COVID, strangers are seem more hesitant to respond to a greeting from others, especially with a mask our current environment you might have to start with a friendly hello or wave before starting a conversation about PD. Suzanne T.

    2. hello: thanks so much for the perspective and encouraging feedback.

      1. I am always open to discussing my PD symptoms especially with children. I put a sign on the back of my transport wheelchair that says” I have Parkinson’s, you can ask me anything.”I believe it’s my responsibility to raise awareness. If you approach someone with kindness and empathy some very productive discussions can follow.
        Thea DeStephano Community Team Member

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