Do you or a loved one suffer from Parkinson’s disease? While the disease can be devastating, there are many small changes you can make to alleviate pain and discomfort in the daily life of the Parkinson’s patient. These tips, courtesy of the American Parkinson Disease Association, can help ensure safety and comfort!
1. Use a microwaveable heat pad for backaches. They are safer to use than electric heating pads. They cool down gradually and won’t burn the skin.
2. Wrap a Chux pad around a warm compress. The compress will stay warmer and the moisture won’t seep out onto garments or furniture. You can purchase Chux (a plastic-backed pad with an absorbent cotton lining typically used for incontinence) or similar pads at drug stores.
3. Make a cold compress. Wet a washcloth and keep it in a storage bag in your freezer. When you need a compress, remove it from the freezer and allow it to thaw slightly. When you have finished using it where needed, return the damp washcloth to the freezer; it will be ready for use the next time it is needed.
4. Rest your head on an inflatable neck cushion while lying in bed or sitting in your armchair. A U-shaped or dog bone-shaped pillow may also provide you with comfortable neck support.
5. If you use a wheelchair or a scooter, test different wheelchair cushions until you find the one that is most comfortable for you. Consult your physical therapist for recommendations and spend some time in your hospital’s home health store trying different cushions. You spend a lot of time in your chair, so make sure you are comfortable.
6. Buy a digital thermometer instead of a glass one. Digital thermometers are easier to read and are safer than glass because they won’t break in your mouth.
7. Caregiver tip: Create a makeshift backrest for the person who must stay in bed and would like to sit up. First, remove the pillows from the bed. Then, take a straight-backed chair and turn it upside down and place it on the mattress where the pillows were. The front edge of the seat will touch the mattress, the legs of the chair will be pointing in the air toward the headboard or wall, and the top portion of the back of the chair will rest on the mattress, creating a slanted surface to cushion with pillows and lean on.