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Practical tips for around the house for people with Parkinson's disease

“Learning little tricks to get around problems means you can get on with your life much as usual”

  • There are many simple tips to overcome the nuisance caused by the effects of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and to help with day to day life around the house.

  • Always organise your daily routine so that you have plenty of time to undertake activities. Plan your day in advance so that you can alternate the difficult tasks with easy ones. Think about what would be more easily done by other people and delegate any heavy household chores that exhaust you.

  • Concentrate on one thing at a time. With PD, movement may not be so automatic, so break tasks down into their component parts and do each stage consciously. If something is proving difficult to achieve, stop and try again after a break.

  • Make use of simple aids that make daily life easier - an electric toothbrush, long handled hairbrushes, cordless razor, large button TV controller. Invest in labour-saving equipment such as a dish washer. Large handled cutlery, electric plugs with handles and lever taps are easier to manipulate.

  • Writing may be easier with a thick or padded felt tip pen and printing using capital letters. Computer users may find voice-activated software is more convenient than using a keyboard. Sticky keys and toggle keys can also help overcome problems with pronounced tremor.

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  • Looser fitting clothes made from natural materials and with few or no buttons and  shoes with elasticated sides are easiest to get on and off. Consider replacing zips with velcro fastenings and using pull-up elasticated trousers.

  • You should ensure the environment is safe, with good lighting and no loose mats, training electric cables, raised door sills or unnecessary clutter. A bracelet or necklace alarm connected to a central switchboard may help to give peace of mind. It is valuable to learn how to get up off the ground in case you have a fall.

  • Avoid armchairs or settees that are too low or too soft. A chair with a straight back, high seat and arm rests is best. Do not have too much unnecessary furniture in the room that makes it more difficult to get about. 

  • Use a non-slip bath mat and have suitable grab rails fitted in the bathroom and toilet. Empty the bath before stepping out of it. A raised toilet seat is often helpful. Do not lock the bathroom or toilet door if you may need help - instead you can ensure privacy by having a notice on the outside saying “occupied” or “free”.

The UK Parkinson’s Disease Society (telephone +44 (0)20 7931 8080; http://www.parkinsons.org.uk) publishes a wide range of helpful leaflets and videocassettes on all aspects of living with PD.

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 Parkinson’s : online community and interactive management tools for people living with PD

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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