Parkinson's Disease and Physical Needs
Because Parkinson’s disease (PD)
is a progressive condition that affects movement and motor control, some changes in the living environment and activity modifications can help ensure that your loved one stays active and engaged in life as much as possible. Learn more about:
Making the Home More Comfortable
Because Parkinson’s disease affects movement, getting around the house may take more time and effort for your loved one. The good news is that making a few basic changes around the house can make daily tasks easier and help keep him or her safe, as falls represent one of the most common causes of injury at home.
- Organize and remove clutter. Keep needed items out of the way but in convenient, easy-to-reach locations. Use attractive, functional bins or baskets for needed supplies. And put frequently used items at a level between your loved one’s shoulders and knees so he or she doesn’t have to reach too high or bend too low. This can help reduce the risk for falls.
- Remove any furniture that’s not needed. Make it easier for your loved one by decreasing the number of items they need to navigate throughout the house. Make sure furniture is out of main walkways. Tack down loose carpet and put away throw rugs to reduce the chance of tripping.
- Increase lighting. Make sure you’ve got enough light to keep stairways well lit, and install nightlights throughout the house, especially in bathrooms and bedrooms.
- Set up medications on a daily or weekly basis in marked containers to decrease stress and ensure dosing accuracy.
Managing Activities of Daily Living
Living with Parkinson’s disease takes adjustment, even in the early stages. You may find that, while your loved one can’t do everything they used to, they can still manage most of their activities on their own.
Following are some tips to help your loved one stay as independent as possible.
- Bathing and Grooming
- Allow for and respect your loved one’s privacy as much as possible.
- Add nightlights to bathrooms.
- Have your loved one groom themselves while seated.
- Place nonskid rubber mats in shower stalls and bathtubs.
- Suggest an electric razor and toothbrush and a hands-free hairdryer.
- Encourage your loved one to do as much as possible. Help them only if necessary.
- Opt for clothing with fewer buttons, zippers, and other difficult closures.
- Switch to elastic waistbands and Velcro closures.
- Switch to elastic shoelaces and suggest an extra-long shoehorn.
- Add motion-activated nightlights to the bedroom.
- Make the bed with smooth, satiny sheets so that turning in bed is easier.
- Add extra pillows for comfortable support.
- Allow as much time as possible at mealtimes - at least 30 to 45 minutes.
- Encourage smaller, more frequent meals.
- Try specially designed dishes, utensils, and cups.
Staying Active and Engaged
Staying active is important to the emotional well-being of people with Parkinson’s disease. Hobbies and interests may also provide enjoyable ways to get exercise
- a key component to managing the condition. Because of movement limitations, some hobbies and favorite activities may no longer be possible - especially as the disease progresses. But there are many creative ways the two of you can work together to modify activities and approaches to maintain involvement:
- When getting around, encourage your loved one to do as much as possible themselves.
- Allow extra time; do not hurry them.
- Keep up leisure activities such as walking, gardening, and playing with pets and children. Substitute related activities for ones they no longer can do easily - for example, instead of playing an instrument, attend a concert.
- Find a local exercise class.
- Invest in small hand weights or elastic resistance bands for strength training.