Moving to a new home helps us prioritize safety with Parkinson’s

What our family considered while searching for a Parkinson's-friendly house

Jamie Askari avatar

by Jamie Askari |

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My husband, Arman, and I spent almost 20 years of our married life in one house. Before that, we moved several times during his medical training, but the majority of our family memories were created in that house. It was the place our three children considered home.

We moved into the home when I was seven months pregnant with our youngest child, Jake. Our girls were 6 and 3 years old at that time. Arman was in the final year of his cardiology fellowship, and we couldn’t believe we could afford such a lovely, cozy home. It was in a safe, family-friendly neighborhood, and the local public schools were top-rated, providing our children with an excellent education.

It was a dream come true for us.

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Navigating new concerns about home safety

When Arman was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease in 2009, we’d been living in our home for about six years. Since he was only 38 years old, I hoped to have many more years in our dream home. I recognized that there would be challenges ahead, such as the stairs, but I wanted our kids to have the consistency of growing up in that house. I didn’t want Parkinson’s disease to uproot our family; I wanted to move on our terms.

Thankfully, Arman’s symptoms progressed slowly enough for us to stay in the house for many years. Our goal was to wait until all the kids had graduated high school, and we made it! While I was sad to leave our dream home, I wanted to move before it became urgent.

The summer after Jake graduated from high school, I found a home nearby that I considered Parkinson’s-friendly and would work for us long term. The home layout was very open, ideal for Arman to navigate safely. The primary bedroom was on the first floor, so there were no stairs to worry about. We designed a spacious exercise area where Arman can do his stretching, physical therapy, weights, and cardio. The home is in a neighborhood that maintains our lawn, which means very little yardwork for me.

We have been in our new home for over a year now and are glad we made the move. It’s much less stressful for Arman not to have to manage the stairs, and I feel much more comfortable as well.

While we don’t like feeling that Parkinson’s is dictating our decisions, we also must be realistic about home safety and the future. Setting ourselves up for what Parkinson’s has in store for us allows us to plan ahead. We always try to be proactive rather than reactive. Anticipating upcoming challenges and making decisions before they arise have been important tools in staying ahead of the disease.

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.


Phil Brown avatar

Phil Brown

Hi Jamie I can totally relate to this. I was diagnosed in my mid 40's We had lived in our home fro about 15 years at that time. We were on a corner with a large front yard (lots of garden to look after) and steps at both the front and back. My children were in their late teens when I was diagnosed so that made things a little easier. We moved to a new home in 2020 and was the best thing we did for our future. No more steps and a lot less maintenance. This sort of forward planning is so important.

Jamie Askari avatar

Jamie Askari

Hi Phil! I completely agree with the forward planning. I am glad that you were able to move when you did, it sounds like it worked out well for you. Thank you for reading!

Jackie McKeon avatar

Jackie McKeon

I love your attitude towards this disease. My spouse and I both have Parkinson’s, and recently moved to a continuing care retirement community, in anticipation of dark days ahead.

Jamie Askari avatar

Jamie Askari

Hi Jackie! It sounds like you have made a great decision to move. I hope that you and your husband are happy in your new surroundings. Thanks so much for reading, I appreciate it!


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