APDA American Parkinson Disease Association
Information & Referral Center

Staying Independent

People with Parkinson's Disease (PD) want to remain as independent for as long as possible. These publications offer some practical advice.

You might also like to work with an occupational therapist (OT) who focuses on helping peole remain independent, especially with their activities of daily living and work/social goals. If you are in Northern or Central California, contact us for a referral to an OT near you.

 

Relevant Publications - Downloadable

“Activities of Daily Living: Practical Pointers for Parkinson’s Disease”
Published by the National Parkinson Foundation (Now the Parkinson's Foundation)
This 44-page booklet offers suggestions for maintaining independence in, and use of adaptive aides for bathing, dressing, sleeping, eating, toileting and mobility.  This resource includes tips for caregivers.
En Espanol: Consejos prácticos para la enfermedad de Parkinson

 

“Be Independent”
Published by the APDA, 2009
This 41-page booklet contains suggested techniques and useful aids that can help people to remain independent for as long as possible.  Ideas and equipment for activities in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen as well as for grooming, dressing, walking/mobility, managing medication and fatigue are included, followed by miscellaneous safety and convenience tips and a message to the family.

 

“Everyday Helpful Hints”
Published by the APDA, 2017
This 2-page pamphlet provides proven ways to simplify life’s daily challenges for people with Parkinson’s to help maintain the greatest degree of personal dignity and independence.

 

“Living Alone with Parkinson’s Disease”
Published by Michigan Parkinson Foundation
A summary of tips for living along from five panelists at a recent Michigan Parkinson Foundation Annual Facilitator Training Program, including everything from mundane activities of daily living and dealing with freezing to emergency preparedness.

 

“Maintaining Independence in Parkinson’s Disease,” by Paulette Olsen
Published by the APDA, 2011
This 4-page educational supplement identifies healthcare professionals and others who should be part of a good care team for a person with Parkinson’s in order to maintain independence as long as possible.  Also included is how members of a multidisciplinary team can be helpful in maintaining independence and how to locate each resource where you live.

 


Relevant Online Information

“6 Best Spoons for Parkinson’s Tremors,” by Jessica Hegg
Published by Vive Health, November 22, 2017
Spoons designed to counteract tremors or to assist those with limited mobility help Parkinson’s patients eat comfortably.  This list includes pricing and links to Amazon for six utensils to aid in eating independently.  Following the item descriptions (including pros and cons) there are tips for easing tremor, eating with PD and finding the best spoon for PD tremors, including source citations.

 

“10 Simple Dressing Aids help Seniors Stay Independent”
Published by Daily Caring
This list includes pricing and links to Amazon for 10 items to aid in dressing independently, including dressing sticks, various shoe assists, long-handled grabbers, several sock aids, a button hook and elastic shoe laces.

 

“Hand Tremors: Adaptive Utensils and Eating Aids”
Published by Daily Caring
Adaptive utensils, plates and cups make it easier to eat so mealtime is more enjoyable and those who need them are more likely to stay well-nourished.

 

“Living Alone”
Published by Parkinson’s UK
This series of 10 webpages and a video share information about living alone with PD, including staying connected with other people, maintaining your mental health, pets, daily living, social services, staying safe and changes to your home. Welfare benefits and financing, and planning for the future are also topics although the information provided refers to the UK health and welfare systems.

 

“Make Caregiving easier with a Caregiver Notebook Template”
Published by Daily Caring
This user’s guide has a detailed walkthrough with recommendations for the most useful pages to help you get the most out of the The Caregiver’s Notebook, 36 templet pages that allow you to fill in and keep track of medical, personal care, financial and legal information, and to reprint and update as often as needed. 

 

“Simplifying Daily Care for Someone with Parkinson’s Disease,” by Denise Clark
Published by AgingCare.com
This webpage promotes adapting the home environment to deal with the challenges Parkinson’s presents and to make everyday routines easier - such as eating, bathing, and dressing to lengthen quality of life and lower stresses of completing activities of daily living.

 

“Tips for Common Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease,” by Anne-Marie Botek
Published by AgingCare.com
Dr. Andrew Feigin shares how to cope with freezing gait, shaking hands too badly to get money out of a wallet, difficulty swallowing food, and leaning forward when walking.  In addition to tips for each, he recommends speech, physical, occupational, and art therapies.

 

“Tips for Dressing Someone with Parkinson’s”
Published by AgingCare.com
This webpage is a list of tips for dressing, including taking the right attitude, adaptive clothing, assisting with shaving and makeup, tips for hair care, manicure and pedicure, and creating a dressing routine that encourages ease of dressing, self care, and safety.

 


Relevant Online Lectures and Webinars

“Activities of Daily Living”
By Parkinson Canada, March 23, 2018
This 37-minute lecture by occupational therapist Karen Hall shares tips on how you can continue to engage in your activities of daily living with modifications to your tasks and/or environment. Ms. Hall shares several strategies for safety and mobility, including specific examples of clothes, tools and adaptive technology.

 


Expert-Level Resources

“The Clinical Approach to Gait Disturbances in Parkinson’s Disease; Maintaining Independent Mobility,” by N. Giladi and Y. Balash
Journal of Neural Transmission, 2006, [Suppl] 70 : 327-332
By definition, gait is affected very early on in Parkinson’s disease.  The most significant risk is falls and their deleterious consequences.  In the earliest stages patients should adapt a healthy lifestyle and treat all risk factors for atherosclerosis, dementia and deterioration of physical fitness.  As the disease progresses a multidisciplinary team should employ surgical, mental and physical interventions aimed towards the preservation of independent mobilization and avoiding falls.

 


This list was compiled in August 2018 by Denise Dagan with Stanford Parkinson's Community Outreach.

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