Parkinson’s disease is characterized by involuntary tremors, stiffness, slowed movement, and impaired balance. These symptoms can interfere with daily activities, such as eating, showering, and dressing.

Personal care aids and adaptations can increase independence and improve the quality of life of patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Walking assistance

  • Grab rails and handrails for stairs and walls can provide support and reduce the risk of falls.
  • Walking sticks can improve balance and provide support. They may allow patients to walk independently.
  • Walking frames or walkers offer a higher level of support than walking sticks. Frames without wheels are most stable, but must be lifted for each step. For longer distances, walkers with three or four wheels are more suitable.
  • Although most people with Parkinson’s disease do not need a wheelchair all the time, they can use one to get around when symptoms are worse or when going on longer outings. Manual wheelchairs are a preferred option, but require a decent level of fitness and strength to use.

A physiotherapist can advise which mobility aids are suitable for the patient.

Bathroom adaptations

  • Grab rails for bathroom and toilet can provide stability.
  • Slip-resistant material on the bottom of the bath or shower can prevent falls and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Bath and shower seats can reduce the risk of falls.
  • Many Parkinson’s disease patients find a shower with seat and grab rails more comfortable than a tub.
  • Raised toilet seats can help patients get up more easily from a seated position.

Getting in and out of bed

  • Because satin is a bit slippery, sheets or pajamas made of this material can help a patient turn over in bed more easily.
  • Grab rails can help with getting out of bed or adjusting position while in bed.
  • Bed risers that elevate the bed a few inches can make it easier to get in and out of bed.
  • Mattress risers that put the mattress into an upright position can allow the patient to be in a more comfortable position when in bed and can help to get out of bed. The upright position can also reduce dizziness caused by lying flat and reduce ankle swelling.
  • A mobile hoist can lift the patient from the bed into a wheelchair.
  • Bars and ropes that are hung above the head can allow the patient to pull up into a sitting position. However, these devices require a lot of strength and so are not suitable for all Parkinson’s disease patients.

Emergency alarms and monitors

  • Pendant alarms worn around the neck or wrist are designed to send a signal to an emergency center or another part of the house.
  • Monitors can alert another person in case of a specific event. They can be triggered if the patient falls or smoke is detected, for instance.
  • Wireless doorbells can be used to call for help from someone nearby when the patient’s voice is not strong enough.
  • Smartphone apps can send an alarm after being triggered by a fall or other event.

Eating and drinking equipment

  • Specially designed cutlery with large, easy-to-grip handles can help patients during mealtime.
  • Curved-handle knives are shaped in a way that gives more control and can be easier to grip.
  • Plate guards that clip onto the plate and provide a ring around it can help stop food from falling down the edge of the plate.
  • Sip cups with a lid can help avoid spills. Using a straw can also make drinking easier.
  • Non-slip mats can be placed underneath a plate or bowl to stop it from moving around while the patient is eating. They can also be used on a tray to prevent sliding during carrying.
  • Kettle tippers make it possible to tilt a kettle without lifting it, reducing the risk of spills and burns.

Additional information

An occupational therapist assesses the patient’s situation and needs and recommends equipment that increases independence and improves quality of life.

A general practitioner can refer the patient to a healthcare professional for help with choosing the right equipment.

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Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.