Living with Parkinson’s Disease: Sociological Perspectives on Older Australians’ Narratives
The data included here are from focus groups (n=6) and individual interviews (n=18) carried out in the Sydney metropolitan area with people diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease and their partner-carers. Participants’ narratives evidence the ways in which, outside of the clinical setting, the simultaneous process of ageing and living with this chronic illness affects their physical, social and emotional wellbeing. At the same time, narratives illustrate the often creative and productive ways that participants mitigate the physical and emotional suffering and loss experienced in living with Parkinson’s disease.
The findings demonstrate that, for health professionals and policy makers, a more nuanced framework is needed to move beyond the clinical understanding of Parkinson’s disease as a movement disorder. That is, one that provides an interpretation and understanding of the diversity and complexity of the lived experience of Parkinson’s disease and its intersection with the ageing process, and also how the person embodies, sees and experiences life with Parkinson’s disease, and the partner-carer sees themselves implicated in their partner’s illness.