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Helping with lifting and moving the person with Parkinson's disease


"It's the physical part of caring that I find most difficult - I had to be taught how to lift properly"


  • Caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease (PD) may often involve helping them to move round. It is important that you are fully prepared and do this the right way. Moving someone who is unsteady or immobile can be potentially dangerous for both of you.

  • It is very important to ensure that you are handling and lifting the person you are caring for correctly. Inappropriate lifting techniques can easily lead to back strain, falls and accidents. Whenever possible try to get someone to help move the person with you, rather than doing it just on your own.

  • There are some general rules that you should always follow:

  • Always warn the person you are helping what is going to happen.
  • Make sure the immediate environment is safe - remove any obstacles.
  • Try to ensure the height you are working is suitable - a higher chair, or extra mattress on the bed may make it easier.
  • Encourage the person you are moving to do as much as possible themselves.
  • Try to move by rolling, tilting, or turning and lift as little as possible.

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  • When you must lift, stand close to the person, spread your feet apart so that you have a stable base, always bend your knees and/or hips and not your back and tense your stomach muscles.

  • The Community Nurses (who can be contacted through your family doctor) or physiotherapist can demonstrate safe lifting and moving techniques and practise them with you.

  • An occupational therapist may be able to advise you on suitable aids and equipment that make moving easier and safer. These include transfer boards and hoists.

  • In some areas there are short courses for carers that teach good handling and lifting skills. Your family doctor or hospital specialist services should be aware of these.

The Parkinson’s Disease Society (telephone 020 7931 8080) can provide information and support to carers http://www.parkinsons.org.uk

Useful books include:
Staying Sane: Managing the Stress of Caring
Lesley Bell, Tanya Arroba. Age Concern Books, Age Concern England; ISBN: 0862422671

Useful websites are:

Caregiver survival resources

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers



This site has been established for the dissemination of information. While every effort is made to ensure that information on this site is accurate and current we accept no liability for any omissions or inaccuracies that may have crept in. If in any doubt please contact your doctor for further advice.

Last Modified 13 August 2004
Maintained by Matthew Harris