Parkinson's

Our carers have experience working and supporting people living with Parkinson's disease at home. Our home carers have the expertise to adapt to the condition's changing nature. Read our short Parkinson's guide below and look out for the section at the bottom about how to adapt your home for Parkinson's and do contact us on 0208 886 0686 if we can help in anyway. 


 

Outline

Parkinson's disease is condition that physically affects and damages the brain. It is a progressive disease, which means it will gradually get worse over time.

Parkinson's is a rarer form of dementia, It is caused when nerve cells are lost in the substantia nigra area of the brain, this is towards the lower middle of the brain. 

People living with Parkinson's don't have enough of the chemical dopamine because the cells that are lost produce it. 

Dopamine is the chemical that enables messages to be sent to the parts of the brain that manage movement. 

Around 1 in 500 people are estimated to be affected by Parkinson's. 

Symptoms

  • There are many different symptoms related to Parkinson's disease. The main symptoms are shaking of parts of the body, known as tremors as well as having stiff muscles and a reduced speed of movement.

Other Physical symptoms related to Parkinson's disease include: Pain

  • Bladder and bowel problems

  • Muscle cramps

  • Foot problems

  • Skin problems

  • Sweating

  • Eye problems

  • Low blood pressure

  • Sleep difficulties

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue/tiredness

  • Falls

  • Speech and communication difficulties

  • Dental problems

  • Eating and swallowing

  • Control of saliva

  • loss of smell

Other symptoms include:

  • Depression

  • Hallucinations

  • Delusions

  • Anxiety

  • Memory difficulties

  • Difficulties with thinking

 

Care

There isn't currently a cure for Parkinson's disease. There are however treatments and therapies available which can help with the symptoms and help a person living with Parkinson's to live well which include:

  • Physiotherapy

  • Dietary therapy

  • Speech and Language therapy

  • Occupational therapy

  • Medication

There are alternative therapies that people with Parkinson's use such as art therapy, acupuncture and many others.

You should take medical advice from your GP before beginning any therapies, medications or alternative therapies. Below is a short guide on how to adapt to your home to live well with Parkinson's. 



How to Adapt Your Home For Parkinson's 

When seeking to adapt your home for living with Parkinson's or in preparation for the onset of Parkinson's a good step is a visit from an Occupational Therapist who can provide expert advice about modifications to the home and equipment. Occupational Therapist visits are free of charge via the NHS.

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation and AgingCare.com recommend the following adjustments, modifications and equipment when caring for those living with Parkinson's. 

General

  • - Kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and stairs are main areas of concern

  • - Arrange furniture to allow space for comfortable standing, sitting and turning

  • - Handrails on both sides of staircase

  • - Mark the first/last steps in white in some way for easy recognition

  • - Remove or secure loose rugs

  • - Carpet - more difficult to navigate with walkers, lifts, canes and wheelchairs and wear more but vinyl and tiles can be slippery and harder if a person falls. Low-pile carpet makes it less likely to get feet stuck in.

  • - Consider cleaning bare flooring with non-skid floor wax.

  • - Door widening hinges can widen doors by around 2 inches

  • - Make sure lamps, as well as table lamps are placed so that they cannot be easily tipped over

  • - Objects like floor vases, other objects and side tables are easy to navigate around - where possible remove them or ensure they are placed well out of the way of main walkways

  • - Cover sharp edges of countertops and other sharp surfaces with cushioning

  • - Keep everything that is needed within easy, remove things that are out of reach.

  • - Replace buttons, zips and laces with Velcro

  • Kitchen

  • - Chopping, sautéing and mixing can be difficult - set up ingredients and kitchen tools in a place where you can sit to prepare food

  • - Use plastic mixing bowls to avoid breaks

  • - Extra tea-towels to clean up any spill

Gadgets

  • - Hot Hand® Protector glove

  • - Jar Opener

  • - ULU knife

  • - Battery/electric operated can openers, peelers, scissors

  • - Adaptive handles for toothbrushes, hairbrushes, and combs

  • - Special cups and glasses that make them easier to hang on to.

Bedroom

  • - Lower floors (to avoid stairs)

  • - Rails on side of bed to help with getting in and out

  • - Bed pull-up

  • - Satin sheets or pyjamas - helpful for turning over and sliding into different positions.

Bathroom

  • - Anti-slip/skid socks rather than slippers

  • - Bathroom transfer bench - sit down and swing or pull your legs over the side of bath or shower.

  • - Shower chair or plastic garden chair and grip bars on the walls

  • - Rubber non-slippery bath/shower mats

Later stages of Parkinson's

  • - Paint, tape or label taps red or blue to designate hot and cold

  • - Remove locks on bathroom doors

  • - Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters - shuts off electricity when it detects current going through a person or water.

  • - Parkinson's friendly doorknobs

Minor adaptations to the home of up to £1000 are not means tested and can be obtained from the local council. They can also provide any disability equipment too free of charge. Major adaptations up to £30k are means tested.



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