Parkinson’s is estimated to affect millions of people all across the globe, with hundreds of thousands of people dying from Parkinson’s each year.
Parkinson’s is a degenerative disease, meaning that the symptoms get worse over time. People with Parkinson’s can live very free and independent lives. But Parkinson’s does present its own unique set of problems, such as tremors and trouble walking.
However, there are ways to make living with Parkinson’s easier. Small, simple techniques or objects that can help remove some of the difficulty that living with Parkinson’s presents.
No spill cups
One of the key symptoms of Parkinson’s is tremors. This is the uncontrollable shaking of the hands. This shaking can cause people with Parkinson’s a lot of problems, both practically and mentally.
Many who have Parkinson’s become reluctant to dine in public, choosing not to eat or drink in public for fear that they will spill something down themselves. But this problem can be easily combatted.
For example, there are a range of ‘no spill cups’ on the market that claim to combat tremors. Some work via pivots, whereas others are designed in such a way that the liquid is reflected back into the cup, rather than outside it.
Gripping can become more difficult when you have Parkinson’s. Using everyday items such as eating utensils, pens and pencils, or even a stylus for a tablet can be a challenge.
In order to get additional grip, try wrapping things around these everyday items. For example, elastic bands, black electrical tape or even foam tubes can help you gain additional grip.
Maintaining your independence while bathing can be one of the most important things, not just for physical wellbeing but also for mental wellbeing.
Simple hacks, like a shower seat or being able to sit down in the bath – for example, in a walk-in bath – can really mean the difference between bathing being a chore, and bathing being simple.
Flooring can have a massive impact on the lives of those that have Parkinson’s. One great example is Mileha Soneji’s ‘staircase illusion’, which she outlines in her TED Talk. She shows how her uncle – who has Parkinson’s – climbing the staircase without any difficulty. She compares this to when he is walking on a flat surface, for which he requires a walker and it takes him a considerable amount of time.
Mileha hypothesises that this is because the motion is continuous, and she says she wondered how to help her uncle translate that motion onto a flat surface.
Her solution? An optical illusion. She created a flooring that resembles stairs and her uncle was able to successfully walk on it continuously, without the aid of his walker, and at a much faster rate.
Mileha suggests that flooring like this be implemented in the homes of those that have Parkinson’s, to help them get around easier.
Raised toilet seats
Raised toilet seats can really help maintain a level of independence for those that have Parkinson’s. People who have Parkinson’s may find that using the toilet is more difficult, especially if the seat is lower than knee level.
An elevated seat combats this problem, by helping those with Parkinson’s get off the seat with less effort and less strain.
Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s doesn’t mean you have to give up all your independence. You can still maintain the same standard of independence, and these hacks can help you manage a bit better during your day-to-day life.