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Things to Consider if you have Parkinson’s Disease

April 16, 2024 -
Things to Consider if you have Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease has been headline news recently, thanks to campaigning by Jeremy Paxman. The former Newsnight presenter was diagnosed in 2021 and delivered his “Parky Charter” to 10 Downing Street on World Parkinson’s Day. He is among the estimated 153,000 people in the UK who are living with Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative brain condition that causes a host of difficulties. These include problems with movement, difficulty sleeping, pain and other symptoms that affect both physical and mental health.

The condition mostly affects older people, although it can strike at any age. For example, American actor Michael J Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 30 and has been living with the condition since 1991. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, and symptoms tend to worsen over time. However, there are therapies and medicines that can help to manage the symptoms.

Men are 1.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women, and those with a family history of the disease are at higher risk. Researchers are still trying to understand the causes, but exposure to air pollution, pesticides and solvents are all believed to increase risk.

Common symptoms of Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s Disease affects different people in different ways. Symptoms tend to get worse over time, and include both motor and non-motor symptoms.

Motor symptoms include slow movement, balance difficulties, tremors, involuntary movement, rigidity and trouble walking.

Non-motor symptoms include cognitive impairment, mental health disorders, sleep disorders, pain and sensory disturbances. There are high instances of Parkinson’s Disease leading to dementia.

Mobility aids for Parkinson’s

The combination of symptoms faced by those with Parkinson’s mean that mobility aids can play an important role in helping people to live more easily, safely and independently. Here are some of the mobility aids can make a real difference for people who are living with Parkinson’s Disease:

Walking sticks / canes – a walking stick provides extra stability and support for people with mild symptoms. It also boosts confidence by reducing the fear of falling. Modern canes have adjustable height and are available with extra feet for enhanced stability. A folding cane is ideal for travel purposes, as it can be packed away in a bag when not in use.

Crutches – some people with Parkinson’s find that under-elbow crutches provide better support than walking sticks. It depends on individual symptoms, and crutches are not right for everyone, so it is important to explore all options.

Walkers – a walker provides more support than a walking stick. It is a good choice for those with Parkinson’s who have more severe weakness in the legs but can still walk with support. A rollator is a special kind of wheeled walker that has an integrated seat. Ideal if the user needs to pause for a breather while out and about.

Wheelchairs – wheelchairs have been providing mobility for people who are unable to walk more than a few steps for centuries. There is a huge choice of different wheelchairs available to those with Parkinson’s. These range from traditional manual wheelchairs, which are wheeled by hand or pushed by an attendant, to self-propelled electric wheelchairs.

Grab rails – a grab bar or rail makes it safer to get around the house independently. Rails are commonly fitted in bathrooms and danger areas like staircases and passageways to provide extra support and reduce the risk of slips and falls.

easy pour kettle

Bath and shower seats – the bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms for those with mobility problems and there are more than 200,000 reported bathroom accidents every year. A bath or shower seat helps people with Parkinson’s to safely take care of personal hygiene in privacy.

Raised toilet seats – a raised toilet seat makes it easier to sit down and stand up, helping users to maintain independence and dignity without compromising safety.

Adjustable beds – getting into and out of bed is something we take for granted. But some symptoms of Parkinson’s can make it a real challenge. A raised or adjustable bed makes it easier to get into and out of bed without needing assistance.

Kitchen aidsuseful kitchen gadgets like jar openers , spill-proof cups and the Uccello PowerPour Kettle (pictured) can make an enormous difference when Parkinson’s symptoms make affect the grip or ability to hold things steadily.

The right Parkinson’s mobility aids for your needs

Choosing the best mobility and living aids when you have Parkinson’s Disease depends on the type and severity of symptoms being experienced. Choosing the right aids should also be done in conjunction with any therapies that are ongoing.

For this reason, it is always recommended that those with Parkinson’s consult their doctor, physical therapist or other healthcare provider to help them make the best choices when evaluating different mobility aids.

For more advice on living with Parkinson's, we recommend

Jon Wade
Jon Wade

Jon has been working at CareCo since 2019. He uses his extensive product knowledge to provide insights and advice on the best mobility aids for every occasion.

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