||Practical aids &
adaptations to help with caring for the person with Parkinson's disease
"The mobility aids have
given us better ways of coping with getting on and off beds and getting up. They
have been invaluable to me"
practical aids, appliances and adaptations helps people with disabling
conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease (PD), to be more independent. In
turn, this means that it is easier to care for them and everyone has a
better quality of life.
and appliances might include small pieces of equipment to help with daily
living activities, such as bathing aids and adapted cutlery and cups for
eating and drinking, or larger pieces of equipment such as electrically
operated beds, stair-lifts ( a seat that moves slowly up or down the
staircase) and wheelchairs.
range from simply rearranging furniture and removing or securing potential
dangers (e.g. loose rugs, electric flexes, poor lighting), to installing
ramps instead of steps, or building new toilet or bathroom facilities.
are best qualified to advise on mobility aids. Learning techniques to help
with getting up, turning around, and avoiding getting stuck
(‘freezing’) may be more useful than a walking stick or other mobility
aids. Travelling may be made easier by using a swivel cushion (or even a
plastic bag) on the passenger seat to make it easier to turn when getting
in or out of the car. You may be able to hire a wheelchair for short
periods from the local Red Cross.
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therapists (OTs) are best qualified to advise on what aids may help you
with daily living, how to obtain them and how much they will cost (or
whether they are available on loan or hire). Sometimes a financial grant
may be available to partly offset costs.
and Language therapists can advise on communication aids, from simple
communication cards, and lightwriters, to more complex electronic
communicators and computers. Special hands-free telephones and telephone
amplifiers may be helpful. Communication aids such as intercom systems
can provide convenience and security to those left on their own.
staff can advise on avoiding skin problems (pressure sores) if the
person you are looking after is immobile and on the most suitable
continence aids if there are problems with bladder or bowel control.
the UK there are ‘Disabled Living Centres’ where you can see
equipment and try it out or get expert advice.
The UK Parkinson’s Disease Society
(telephone +44 (0)20 7931 8080;
can provide information on making life easier when caring for a relative
or friend with PD.
The Disabled Living Foundation is a source of
expertise and can be contacted by telephone (0845 130 9177).
or online http://www.dlf.org.uk)
Useful books include:
‘Parkinson’s disease: 300 tips for making
life easier’, by Shelley Peterman Schwarz, published in 2002 by Demos
Medical Publishing. ISBN 1 888 79965X
Useful websites include:
My Parkinsons : management
tools for people living with PD