Although Parkinson’s disease symptoms make daily tasks difficult, minor adjustments and modifications can help the day to flow more smoothly. Parkinson’s is a progressive disease that manifests itself in stages. As the disease worsens, the challenges become more difficult. Caregivers should focus on learning how to consistently change not only the home environment but also everyday life activities to account for a progressive decline in health and ability.
Rearranging the Home
Caregivers must avoid over-stimulation and break tasks down into manageable parts. While encouraging the person to stay as self-sufficient as possible, more emphasis should be placed on safety and making daily life tasks easier for the person with Parkinson’s. Each room in the home must be adapted to meet the particular demands of people with Parkinson’s disease, as well as their increasing physical and cognitive challenges. Open passageways between rooms are essential for access with walkers and wheelchairs. Lamps, home decorations, and floor rugs must be safe and secure to avoid the risk of injury or breakage.
For someone with Parkinson’s disease, the kitchen should be made as accessible and user-friendly as is feasible. Rope or cloth tied to drawer and cupboard handles will improve access. Make sure utensils and food are placed in easily accessible positions to prevent the person from needing to reach over other objects. To make it easier to identify the contents of drawers and cabinets, label them.
Eating utensils with specifically designed handles can make the eating process easier. Excessive chewing or swallowing, as well as trouble chewing and swallowing, are common problems in people with Parkinson’s disease. Puréeing meals and serving them in bowls rather than on plates may make it easier for eating. Food thickeners such as SimplyThick are substances that increase the thickness of liquid beverages or pureed foods without affecting their nutritional values. They can be used to thicken soups, puddings, and sauces without altering their flavor yet making them easier to swallow.
Grab bars, door pulls and utility handles can make life simpler and safer in the bathroom. Showering often proves easier than bathing, but consider fitting a shower curtain or plastic door rather than glass. Specially designed electric toothbrushes and shavers can make personal hygiene tasks easier to manage.
As with other rooms, the furniture may need to be rearranged and made safe, especially concerning bedside lamps. Dressing can sometimes be a dreaded process due to stiffness or pain as well as decreased motor skills and strength. Velcro tabs or magnetic buttons can be used on clothing whenever possible. It’s easier and more comfortable to get into and out of loose-fitting garments.
A physical or occupational therapist can make further suggestions in making life easier for a person living with Parkinson’s. Research suggests that people with Parkinson’s are advised to keep moving. Even if they can only manage a little, gentle yet enjoyable exercise will have many benefits. On the other hand, they are also advised to listen to their bodies and nap whenever needed. Encourage them to challenge themselves on occasion, even if it takes more time, to help maintain motor function.