Gifts for Someone with Parkinson's
May 3, 2020 2:08 AM   Subscribe

My mom has Parkinson's disease. She says she feels like a "square ball who can't roll." If you or a loved one have Parkinson's, can you think of any things that demonstrably made your life better/easier/more fun/less scary? Because COVID, it can't be anything that requires complicated setup or installation -- something that made life better right out of the box.
posted by shadygrove to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I can't think of any one thing, but I got my grandmother a bunch of different stuff on
posted by 8603 at 5:19 AM on May 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

My mother liked an electric corkscrew I got her. YMMV, but its an idea that can be spun-out.

Only partially related: every year I make a donation in her name to the Parkinson's Foundation and she really likes that.
posted by os tuberoes at 5:26 AM on May 3, 2020

Does she have special flatware? There are different types available for people who have Parkinson's. Several options here.
posted by essexjan at 6:35 AM on May 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

My mom has Parkinson's -- and she also has vision troubles. We got her a keychain that she can press a button and its tells the date/time and a very large atomic clock that she won't need to reset the time on. Fine motor functions (like setting the time on clocks) are really tricky for her so if you can move to big buttons or less fiddling, that might be good. Nice straws or easy to hold cups are also very helpful for the same reason.

Our other magical discovery was very specific to her needs but her gait is very poor and she has difficulty sitting up. Her neurologist recommended some "slanted"/ramp style cushions for her wheelchair and that has been a nearly instant fix for her posture.

On the fun side, we bought made a photo mural with some large picture frames and large prints of family photos. We change these out periodically. Related but on the silly side, we are thinking of making a life size cutout of her 2 year old granddaughter so she can have a little toddler come "visit".

Parkinson's is a hard disease and there aren't too many things that we've found to ease the difficulties. Sometimes it's the smaller optimizations that can bring a little more dignity and we try to do these in a graceful way.
posted by countrymod at 7:03 AM on May 3, 2020

Best answer: We got my dad a four wheeled recumbent bicycle made by a local man who also has Parkinson's. My dad is basically completely immobile and hunched over but on the bike he can travel at jogging speed for quite some distance. Under his own power and control. Can't use it as much as we like right now, it's expensive and it's really only useable on flat trails but it's pretty cool.
posted by klanawa at 11:03 AM on May 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

My grandmother was very happy to use children's place settings, the kind made for toddlers with coordinating plates and sippy cups and easy-grip flatware. She was a lifelong maker and collector of dolls and toys, others might not appreciate 'baby stuff' but she loved having the all the matching pieces and a different design every day (today Pooh Bear, tomorrow Raggedy Anne).

For her it was about making sure the things she used every day represented the things she loved most throughout her life, and giving her choices instead of the boring stuff her various medical providers had recommended.
posted by buildmyworld at 12:16 PM on May 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

I just ordered a Google Home speaker - 30US at Kohls, a huge discount. Target had the same deal but sold out.* They're nice speakers, my primary use, but some of the hey google assistant functionality might be nifty for your Mom. Looking forward to being able to request music.

Sorry to be all Google Home Blue, but this was a major treat for me.
posted by theora55 at 12:17 PM on May 3, 2020

Best answer: There are catalogs of adaptive equipment such as weighted flatware and plates with scoopy edges (easier to load food onto a fork with the curved edge) as well as games for people with impairments. My relative who has Parkinson’s was very grateful for the tool that is like a telescopic claw, so they can grasp and lift objects off the floor. Originally they were fine with the child’s toy version, but a more sophisticated iteration is available at medical supply stores.
posted by little_dog_laughing at 1:15 PM on May 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

I know many people with PD who love the Rock Steady Boxing program. So maybe a boxing setup and a couple bright red gloves?

If walking is a challenge (freezing of gait), some folks respond well to having a beat to march to (pocket metronome, eg) or a laser pointer to draw themselves an imaginary line to step over.

Avid readers who have trouble turning pages might like audiobooks.
posted by basalganglia at 2:23 PM on May 3, 2020 [3 favorites]

My dad had Parkinson’s and we got him a Simpl music player that worked out great. There are no settings to get confused by - you just open the lid to play music and close it to stop.
posted by indeterminacy at 3:37 PM on May 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you ever video chat with her on her phone or tablet, you may want to get her a stand to put it on while she's talking. My mom has serious hand tremors and face-timing with her makes me seasick.

I've read that CBD can calm the shakes from Parkinson's. It doesn't have to be smoked. If she's amenable to trying some of the lotions or beverages that are for sale everywhere now, it could be worth some experimenting.
posted by bendy at 5:41 PM on May 3, 2020

Response by poster: Ended up getting her a sock-putter-on tool and a rise-from-the-couch tool from the site 8603 linked. So many creative answers! Thank you all.
posted by shadygrove at 8:47 PM on May 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

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