Update: In January 2016, we covered the progress of a special glove that uses a gyroscope to cancel out tremor. It's still being tested and adjusted, but its inventors hope that it will be available in the U.K. market before September.
If you have Parkinson’s disease or live with someone who does, chances are you’ve come up with your own creative solutions to making daily life easier. We asked our Facebook community about assistance products they use or solutions they've discovered, and added in a few popular options that have been in the news lately.
While some options are on the pricier end, like a motorized spoon that cancels out tremors, others are do-it-yourself projects made with materials picked up at your local hardware store.
If you have any ideas to add, please leave them in the comments!
Mealtime can be sometimes be frustrating with Parkinson's symptoms. Utensils with ribbed, ergonomic rubber handles are easier to hold and often available at specialty stores, or sometimes at local retailers like CVS, our Facebook community says.
For a DIY approach, Facebook community member Tim Rusteberg suggests finding liquid rubber for tools at your local hardware store, and adding it to utensils.
If it’s in your budget, the Liftware spoon uses stabilizing technology to cancel out tremors while you eat. In a clinical trial, it cancelled out 70 percent of tremors.
In June, NPR profiled an 11-year-old girl named Lily and her design for a special cup for her grandfather, who has Parkinson’s disease. Called the Kangaroo Cup, it has three plastic legs attached so it won't tip over (kangaroos jump with their legs plus their tail, says Lily).
Faucets and toothpaste tubes can pose a challenge as part of a morning routine. “[I use] a sonic toothbrush and dental floss picks to keep inflammation at bay, and all products in a pump so I don’t have to twist off the tops,” Betsy Arbelovsky shared. She also installed touch on and off faucets in her kitchen and bathroom.
Community member Christian Mögel has a creative setup for his computer at work – he placed a mouse on each side of the keyboard so he can use the hand that’s feeling better at any particular time. For home, he purchased a 27-inch tablet that he’s found helpful. “Due to its size the areas I have to hit for a certain command are much bigger than on a regular PC or tablet. I can bring the tablet flat about 8 inches over the table, so I can easily work standing,” he wrote.
Several members of our Facebook community suggested trying out Dragon voice recognition software if typing becomes difficult.
Around the house:
If using keys to get in your house is a frustrating process, April Schorr Logsdon recommends installing a number punch entry at the front door.
For indoor ease, several commenters suggest installing touch lights around the house, especially in the bedroom. "My mom has 'touch' lamps in the bedroom in case she needs to get up at night," says Lara Sees-Schob. "I think these are awesome because she doesn't have to fumble around and try to turn the lights on, especially if she's a little shaky... Works great!“
Commenters also advised wearing non-slip shoes and finding styles that are easy to put on. “[I wear] slip-on shoes that curve up a bit – reduce tripping,” says Betsy Arbelovsky.
A few different Facebook community members recommended the clothing site Buck and Buck, a website that offers clothing to make self-dressing and assisted dressing easier. MagnaReady dress shirts, which have buttons on the outside but close using magnets, are another popular choice.