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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"

 

  • §Using 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.

  • §Aids 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.

  • §Adaptations 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.

  • §Physiotherapists 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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  • §Occupational 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.

  • §Speech 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.

  • §Nursing 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.

  • Across the UK there are ‘Disabled Living Centres’ where you can see equipment and try it out or get expert advice.
FURTHER INFORMATION

The UK Parkinson’s Disease Society (telephone +44 (0)20 7931 8080; http://www.parkinsons.org.uk) 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
 

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