50 GREAT IDEAS
FOR COPING WITH
THE EVERYDAY CHALLENGES OF PD
1. For taking meds in the middle of the night, buy two plastic toddler sippy cups with
the tops that can't come off or spill. If you drop a cup, nothing spills and you don't even have
to look for it 'til morning.
2. Stop using wallets or anything that requires fumbling.
3. Wear clothing with pockets large enough to drop change into, rather than fumbling
to separate paper bills and coins when you are handed change.
4. The popular cargo-style pants with pockets on the legs provide a great way to free up your
5. Purchase a small purse that can be worn across your body and carry only
your driver's license, one credit card, medical information card and cash. It's not heavy and
leaves your hands free.
6. Use a head set phone or speakerphone instead of a hand-held one.
7. If you are right-sided and PD gets it, learn to drive with your left foot.
8. So you don't have to fiddle with counting out pills and opening hard-to-open pill bottles
every day, sit down once a week with a pill container that's separated into daily
compartments. For women, use one that fits into your purse. This way, you won't have to
dwell on meds each day. Or purchase one of the plastic boxes with compartments meant for
sewing supplies. It works great for sorting your entire month's supply of pills.
9. When travelling, take the meds you will need for the duration of the trip, plus one extra
week. Take the original containers with you, or tape the labels to the bottom of your meds
box. If you are hospitalized, having these with you can be invaluable. Don't leave home
without them. Always keep your meds with you in a carry-on bag.
10. If you need your meds to kick in fast, crush or chew a regular Sinemet or Mirapex. It usually
works. Or crush a Sinemet in orange juice.
11. When you get one of those sleepy spells, don't try to nap in a chair. Stretch out across the
bed or floor and get a few quick winks while you're relaxed. No more stiff neck or back
because you slouched in the chair.
12. Drink a full glass of water with your meds.
13. Do some light stretching and movement exercises just after taking your meds.
14. Smile at someone and laugh out loud - you'll feel better and it's good exercise for your facial
muscles. Or lip-synch with music to exercise your facial muscles even more. If you have
little children, make it a family affair - they'll love the entertainment, especially when you
over-exaggerate your expressions.
15. Chair dancing is fun - sit in a chair and move your feet and legs. It's good for stretching and
gets the blood moving too.
16. Create a list of all your meds, dosages and the times you take them. Keep one in your wallet
and one with your meds at all times. Your doctor will love you for it when you hand it to
him/her at your appointments.
17. If your fingers get stiff, use really big handled kitchen utensils to make gripping easier.
(e.g. knives, vegetable peelers and spatulas)
18. Attach old key chains to zippers on your purses for easier opening.
19. To "loosen up" your legs in the morning, stretch out as wide as you can a few times while
still in bed. Then sit on the edge of the bed and "pump" your knees up and down about five
times before you get up.
20. Wearing fuzzy slippers in the morning seems to lessen dystonia in the feet. For some reason
the tactile stimulation helps.
21. Buy a stand-up book holder. Reading steady type is easier on the eyes.
22. If blankets and sheets are trying to strangle you, align the top sheet so you can fold about 6"
of it over the blanket and pin them together with big blanket pins.
23. Use an electric toothbrush to help you through the mornings when fine motor skills are not
24. When putting on make-up gets too difficult, have your eyelashes dyed to eliminate the need
for applying mascara.
25. A tip for those who have freezing moments: try to grab something or reach for something
like the corner of a table, or a counter, or anything that offers some form of support.
Sometimes just the thought that something is available initiates movement.
26. Eat when you can in small amounts throughout the day to help reduce the intake of too much
protein at one shot. Distributing protein intake throughout the day helps meds work more
27. For every bite you take, take two sips of water. This will come close to taking care of your
fluid requirements for the day.
28. Use post-it notes to help counteract memory lapses.
29. Watch comedy videos to help relieve depression. Or go to the Chat Room and share your
feelings with other posters.
30. Install grab bars in showers and tubs to protect against nasty falls.
31. Clip your car keys to the inside of your bag with a small but sturdy dog clip you can get at a
32. For balance problems when taking corners or walking around a desk it helps to put your arm
out on the side of the object. This helps guide you around the object and avoid those
33. This will help you with washing, drying and styling your hair if you have limited upper
arm/upper body strength. Sit on a chair in the bathroom and bend forward when drying your
hair to limit the amount of time your arms are held over your head.
34. Walk heels down first to prevent stumbling.
35. Bounce a tennis ball off the floor to work your fingers and improve grip.
36. Chew bubble gum to give your face muscles a workout.
37. Keep a no-spill container of water with a straw in your car for "have pill, must travel" times.
38. Purchase a pill box with an alarm if remembering to take your meds is a problem. After you
take a dose you just have to push the "set" button to reset it for another four hours.
39. If you are a gardener, take a sturdy stick with you for moments when you are too stiff to
get off your knees. Just lean on it and let the stick do the work.
40. If handling money and change is a problem, use your ATM card for all purchases.
41. Always carry a cellular phone. It could be a lifesaver if you fall.
42. If morning stiffness in your hands is a problem, lay out your meds for the next day in a
convenient place. Put a small condiment dish next to them. Then in the morning when you
are the stiffest, dump your daily pills into the dish and you can more easily pick up those you
take first thing.
43. Wearing satin pajamas and sleeping on satin sheets helps you turn over in bed.
44. Put a plastic bag on the car seat to help swinging your legs around to enter or exit.
45. Buy a portable heating pad that you can plug in anywhere.
46. Fat ink pens are a great help for those times when your fingers won't cooperate.
47. Use anti-bacterial hand gel so you won't have to go to a sink to wash your hands.
You don't need water.
48. Velcro fasteners.
49. Try soap on a rope for easier showering/bathing. Buy a really thick towel robe to help dry
dry off if you have trouble reaching your back.
50. Put your meds in your pocket for easy access. Or buy a pouch that you can wear around your
List compiled by Emily for PLWP, Inc.