Christmas gift ideas for people with Parkinson’s
Gift giving is an opportunity to be helpful to my dad
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.
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.
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