These inventions to help people with Parkinson’s, are ideal for patients or carers. Parkinson’s is a disease that only shows symptoms when around 80% of dopamine has gone, and results in a complicated disease that is far more than the common ‘shaking’ that people consider it to be. Other symptoms are lack of balance (falling is a big hazard), difficulty in speaking (drooling is another main symptom) and a mask-like expression that can make patients feel very isolated, in a society that does not understand.
At present, Parkinson’s is not cured, so donate to humane medical research charities (that don’t use innocent animals) to help find a cure. The main Parkinson’s charities use animal testing that is outdated, ineffective and cruel (usually involving monkeys). Modern research methods would likely have found a cure by now, if they had the same funding from the public and government, that the major charities do. For now, here are some inventions to make life easier. Most are available on the NHS, you just have to ask.
- Exercises for Parkinson’s Disease is a workout book of simple exercises, to boost mobility and balance.
- Voice Aerobics DVD (you can watch online) is a one-hour program created by a speech therapist to help restore vocal movement. She’s a fan of using tennis bands to absorb drool (more dignity then wet hankies, and then throw in the wash).
- Bob’s Flunkey is a homemade invention that a patient came up with, to get dressed (good for anyone who can’t raise their arm above shoulder height). It involves tying string to a bulldog clip, and fastening it to the door.
- U-Step is safer than a zimmer frame, as it has brakes so you don’t ‘roll away’ with it as you stand up. The same company’s LaserCane (above) spots a red light on the ground to help provide a visual cue, to stop freezing. Similar inventions are Walk with Path (lasers that attach to your shoes) and Walk to Beat (a walking stick, with a vibrating beat).
- GyroGlove was invented by a medical student, after seeing a PD patient struggling to eat a bowl of soup. Designed to stop hand tremors, users say it’s like ‘sticking your hand in thick syrup’. Gyenno Spoon and Liftware Crockery are also designed to stop tremors.
- Kangaroo Cup and Handsteady Mug are both cups designed specifically to stop spills. The first was invented by the granddaughter of a patient, the second created after 4 years of talking to over 100 health professionals.
Free & Low-Cost Help for Carers
- Caring for a patient with Parkinson’s can be very stressful and tiring, due to difficulty in communicating and the constant risk of falling. See find free & low-cost help for carers.
- Visit Turn 2 Us to ensure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to. Helping Hands at Home is a care agency that offers visiting care nationwide. A Helping Hands carer can help with safely moving around the home, personal care, household chores, running errands and caring for pets.
- Cinnamon Trust and PAPAS also have dog walking volunteers that can also care for other pets, take pets to the vets and often foster or volunteer pets, if you or someone you love goes into hospital). The former also lists pet-friendly nursing homes, and can arrange adoption, if the patient dies.