In July our offer for a house was accepted. It needs some work doing on heating, plumbing, rewiring and redecorating, and we are considering what other work to carry out before we move in (in the past such work was always done after the move, if at all, so here’s a step in the right direction!). After weeks of discussions about possible improvements it suddenly struck me that I was not taking my Parkinson’s into account. Surely this should be an opportunity to improve the quality of my home life now and in the future?
However, apart from a vague memory of an impressive TED talk (1) about a carpet design to help with walking I know very little about home improvements for people with Parkinson’s. Can research help? Have some of the insights about Parkinson’s led to useful advice on suitable household equipment and adaptations of living space?
Where do I begin? There is initial information about home adaptations on the Parkinson’s UK website (2) – and also about financial help which I had not considered.(3) The Parkinson’s UK information sheet ‘Equipment and Disability Aids’ (4) led me to ‘Living made easy’ (5), a website run by the Disabled Living Foundation which includes DLF Data (6), the UK’s only free, impartial database of daily living equipment with details of products and suppliers. There is also a list of local retailers by county and region and an interactive quiz called askSARA (7) to guide you to advice and equipment.
As a result of my initial search I am now particularly interested in carpets and flooring, thresholds, light switches, taps and a walk-in shower. I need to know more about usefulness and cost because I don’t want to spend much money now to prepare for future impairments that are difficult to predict in nature and degree. I decide to explore my specific needs with my Parkinson’s Local Adviser (8) and my Occupational Therapist (9). Also, should I try to find a professional with direct experience of Parkinson’s to help plan and carry-out the work?
I hope that my next blog post will show some practical progress because the purchase is moving along fast. If you can help with questions and experiences to do with home improvements for Parkinson’s just write a comment below.
Chris Johnson C L M
(1) Mileha Soneji, Simple hacks for life with Parkinson’s:
(TED Talk – Technology, Entertainment and Design – especially from 3:00 minutes onwards)
Photo by Stuart Miles, Home Improvement: freedigitalphotos.net