For those living with Parkinson’s disease, many challenges present throughout the day. The symptoms of Parkinson’s (tremors, stiffness, balance problems and slow movement) tend to worsen over time, making all activities of daily living more difficult. Ongoing evaluations performed by your loved one’s physician, nurses and occupational and physical therapists are necessary in order to maximize independence and improve safety.
The Scottsdale home care team at Nightingale Homecare offers tips and information on assistive devices below that may lessen the frustrations and safety issues that often accompany this disease.
Unsteadiness, poor balance and shuffling gait are hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease and produce many challenges with walking safely. In the early stages of Parkinson’s, a straight cane is often helpful. These often work better than a quad cane or tripod cane for those with Parkinson’s. Proper fit is essential as the height of the cane will need to support proper posture. Once your loved one has progressed to a walker, four-wheeled walkers offer more stability than walkers that need to be lifted. In late-stage Parkinson’s, a wheelchair or electric scooter may be necessary.
Probably one of the more frustrating and isolating activities those with Parkinson’s suffer is that of eating. There are several remarkable breakthroughs to make eating easier for people with tremors. The utensils have larger, weighted handles that make gripping easier. There are also utensils that are self-stabilizing and self-leveling and designed to counteract tremors by up to 70%. Many people with Parkinson’s also find it helpful to use travel cups with the lid and straw attached as well as plates with scooped edges to avoid accidents.
A few adaptations can help remove the frustrations that someone with Parkinson’s may experience in dressing him/herself. These devices include:
- Magnetic buttons, with buttons on the outside that close with magnets on the inside.
- Zipper pulls which are attached rings to the tiny handles on zippers that make them easy to zip up and down.
- Weighted button aides with a large grip handle with a loop on the other end. You simply thread the loop through the eyelet, hook the loop around the button, then pull the button through the eyelet.
- Shoes with Velcro or elastic shoelaces are much easier to put on and off than shoes with regular shoelaces.
Your loved-one’s occupational therapist can help make specific recommendations for the bathroom, but devices that make the bathroom safer and more manageable for those with Parkinson’s disease include:
- Bars or handrails added to tubs/showers and toilet areas
- Non-skid bathmats or decals on the tub floor
- Tub chairs or benches
- Raised toilet seats
- Electric toothbrushes and razors
- Touch faucets
The fine motor skills lost with Parkinson’s can make holding a writing instrument difficult. There are many writing devices that are easier to grip. Other writing utensils are designed to improve shaky penmanship.
For more resources and specialized in-home care services for those with Parkinson’s disease, contact the Scottsdale home care team at Nightingale Homecare. We’re always on hand to make life easier, safer, and more comfortable with a full range of home health care services. Call us any time at (602) 504-1555 to learn more.