Everyday Advice for Living with Parkinson’s

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If you or a loved one have been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you’ll no doubt have concerns about how you’ll go about performing everyday tasks as the symptoms develop. We’ve brought together some handy tips and advice from others living with Parkinson’s that could make life living with the disease that little bit easier and help you to maintain your independence.

1) Getting Dressed

Even if your symptoms are still relatively mild, you may have some difficult in getting dressed in the mornings. Fortunately, there are some simple – and cheap – ways to get around this. A little talcum powder is great for when you’re putting on socks and underwear. Men can also try cutting a little ‘V’ in the top of their socks, though obviously this can affect their elasticity. For ladies, elasticated bras that you step into and then tighten are a good alternative to ones that clip together at the front or back.

Elasticated trousers and skirts can be much easier to put on and take off, and gents may find clip-on ties an easy but smart alternative to traditional neck ties.

2) The Bathroom

There are various appliances and gadgets you can invest in that will make showering and bath times easy and safe. A shower stool is one great idea. If bars of soap and bottles of shower gel or shampoo are a bit fiddly, try decanting them into easy-to-use pump-action dispensers. Many women with Parkinson’s worry when travelling about needing to use the bathroom first thing, particularly in the winter months, as a trip to the loo on a chilly morning can affect their symptoms. A urinal funnel (commonly called a ‘Shewee’) and bottle can help you to get around this.

3) Meal Times

Dinner is served, and it’s ready and waiting for you at the dining table. The only problem is, you’re frozen, seized up and can’t get out of your armchair. That’s where an adjustable height table on wheels comes in handy. That way, if you can’t come to the dinner table, dinner can come to you. Many of those living with Parkinson’s find steak knives easier to use than conventional table knives, and rounded traditional soup spoons better than the more common dessert spoon you get with many cutlery sets.

A wall-mounted can opener and bottle or jar opener is much easier to use than a handheld one, and scissors a much simpler and safer way of opening tricky packaging like blister packs than a kitchen knife!

4) Bed Time

This may sound a bit fancy, but satin sheets and/or silk pyjamas can make getting in and out of bed much less of a palaver. They both offer significantly less friction than cotton or acrylic bedclothes, allowing you to slide in and out of bed with relative ease. That said, if falling out of bed is a problem, consider placing an additional pillow at the edge of the mattress before you go to sleep or, if this takes up too much room, put one on the floor next to the bed so you will at least cushion the fall should you slip out of bed.