Christmas gift ideas for people with Parkinson’s

Gift giving is an opportunity to be helpful to my dad

Mary Beth Skylis avatar

by Mary Beth Skylis |

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Snow is falling from the sky in tufts here in the Colorado mountains as I write this. Christmas is on my brain. It’s the time of year when my sister and I book flights back to Michigan and brainstorm ways to make the season memorable.

For me, doing that means choosing my gifts with care. Sure, I could bring my parents knickknacks from all the places I’ve been this year. But I’ve also been thinking about gifts that might help my dad as he contends with Parkinson’s disease. Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with for him for this holiday season:

An audiobook for a reader

My dad has always been a reader. But when his tremors are bad, it’s difficult for him to keep his place in a book. That’s one reason why I think setting him up with audiobooks or podcasts could be a good approach. At one point, I connected his phone with the Libby app to give him access to library books. Purchasing a handful of his favorite books on an app like Audible could also give him more opportunities to enjoy one of his favorite pastimes.

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Adapting to clothing and shoes

The first time I suggested to my dad that he might benefit from adaptive clothing and shoes, he wasn’t keen on the idea. But I got him a pair of Kizik slip-ons that look like standard lace-up shoes. To my surprise, he loved them. They were comfortable and supportive, and he wore them often to his exercise classes. He wasn’t quite as quick to appreciate adaptive clothing, but I consider the shoes a win, and I suspect he’ll benefit from another pair.

Weighing weighted utensils, gloves

Many people with Parkinson’s say that using weighted pens, cutlery, gloves, or bracelets helps minimize the effect of tremors. As the disease’s symptoms progress, it can become really difficult to write and eat. I haven’t yet added any of these items do my dad’s collection, but I love the idea of dining being easier for him.

Get smart (devices)

As mobility becomes more difficult for people with Parkinson’s, using smart devices might help. I have set up a series of Alexa devices in my dad’s home. He uses them to turn the lights on and off, and to listen to the news.

I’ve recently learned about the Smart Cane, which learns the behaviors of the person who’s using it and can alert the caregiver if a fall might be imminent. After Dad had his first fall this year, I’ve been more aware of the need to find ways to minimize this risk in the future. Tools that support his day-to-day activities and also offer an emergency response option feel extraordinarily fitting right now.

With my dad’s Parkinson’s disease in mind, I’ve begun to think of gift giving as an opportunity. I like the idea of finding things for him that can make living with Parkinson’s easier.

Note: 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 another 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. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Robert avatar


I want to acknowledge my son, as he continues to help me get through the process of dealing with PD. Thank you my fly fishing buddy!


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