Tips to help you manage PD
If you’re having trouble with slowing down and freezing, try simple exercises. For example, if you’ve been just diagnosed, try walking or dancing. To help with balance, strength and movement, attempt Pilates, yoga or Tai chi. For complex PD, try chair-based exercises, or exercising whilst holding onto something sturdy.
You can try using special cutlery with easy grip or foam sleeves, and special tumble-not mugs and sip or sports cups with a lid to stop spillage. High-lipped plates and plate guards can also help stop food spillage. You should speak to your occupational therapist for more advice on this equipment.
Take your time to eat, and eat smaller frequent meals throughout the day. Semi-solid foods are easier to swallow, or food that is pre-mashed or pureed. Having a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables with fibrous foods and plenty of fluids can help with constipation. By increasing your fluid and salt intake and reducing sugar in your diet, you can prevent low blood pressure. In addition, avoiding alcohol, coffee, chocolate and fatty and spicy foods can help combat indigestion and heartburn.
At home, ensure you remove rugs or ornaments that may come in your way whilst you are trying to get around. Try using a shower stool and pump-dispensers for your favourite products in the bathroom. If you’re having difficulty buttoning up your clothes, maybe swap the buttons with press-studs or Velcro, and button-up trousers with elasticated belts to help you put them on easily. To aid bone health and decrease the risk of fractures, you can take vitamin D and calcium supplements, but be sure to consult your family doctor before starting on these.
Whilst out and about, make sure to carry your Parkinson’s alert card with a list of your normal routine to save you stress. A good pair of trainers and walking poles can help maintain your steadiness and balance and give you support. Always remember to carry your medication in your hand luggage whilst travelling abroad, and never take them on an empty stomach.
Communicating can be daunting at times, especially if you find yourself having difficulty speaking and maintaining a conversation. You can use lined writing paper underneath plain paper to help you write straight, or try downloading the creative toolkit from parkinsons.org.uk to give you more confidence. Breathing exercises and sing-alongs can be useful, and even using a wipe-clean whiteboard to write things down or apps that transcribe spoken word into text can help.