Staying Independent

People with Parkinson's sisease (PD) want to remain as independent for as long as possible. These publications offer some practical advice.

You might also like to work with an occupational therapist (OT) who focuses on helping peole remain independent, especially with their activities of daily living and work/social goals. If you are in Northern or Central California, contact us for a referral to an OT near you.


Downloadable Documents | Online Articles | Podcasts & Webinars | Expert-level Resources


Downloadable Documents (PDF)

Activities of Daily Living: Practical Pointers for Parkinson’s Disease

Published by the National Parkinson Foundation (Now the Parkinson's Foundation)

This 44-page booklet (PDF) offers suggestions for maintaining independence in, and use of adaptive aides for bathing, dressing, sleeping, eating, toileting and mobility.  This resource includes tips for caregivers.
En Español: Consejos prácticos para la enfermedad de Parkinson 


Be Independent

Published by the American Parkinson Disease Association, 2009

This 41-page booklet (PDF) contains suggested techniques and useful aids that can help people to remain independent for as long as possible.  Ideas and equipment for activities in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen as well as for grooming, dressing, walking/mobility, managing medication and fatigue are included, followed by miscellaneous safety and convenience tips and a message to the family. 


Everyday Helpful Hints

Published by the American Parkinson Disease Association, 2017

This 2-page pamphlet (PDF) provides proven ways to simplify life’s daily challenges for people with Parkinson’s to help maintain the greatest degree of personal dignity and independence. 


Living Alone with Parkinson’s Disease

Published by Michigan Parkinson Foundation

A summary of tips for living along from five panelists at a recent Michigan Parkinson Foundation Annual Facilitator Training Program, including everything from mundane activities of daily living and dealing with freezing to emergency preparedness.


Online Articles

10 Simple Dressing Aids help Seniors Stay Independent

Published by Daily Caring

This list includes pricing and links to Amazon for 10 items to aid in dressing independently, including dressing sticks, various shoe assists, long-handled grabbers, several sock aids, a button hook and elastic shoe laces.


A Caregiver Notebook Template Makes Caregiving Easier

Published by Daily Caring

This user’s guide has a detailed walkthrough with recommendations for the most useful pages to help you get the most out of the 36 template pages that allow you to fill in and keep track of medical, personal care, financial and legal information, and to reprint and update as often as needed. Request the link to download a free caregiver notebook.


Hand Tremors: Adaptive Utensils and Eating Aids

Published by Daily Caring

Adaptive utensils, plates and cups make it easier to eat so mealtime is more enjoyable and those who need them are more likely to stay well-nourished.


Living Alone

Published by Parkinson’s UK

This series of 10 webpages and a video share information about living alone with PD, including staying connected with other people, maintaining your mental health, pets, daily living, social services, staying safe and changes to your home. Welfare benefits and financing, and planning for the future are also topics although the information provided refers to the UK health and welfare systems.


Simplifying Daily Care for Someone with Parkinson’s Disease

By Denise Clark.  Published by AgingCare.com, February 17, 2020

This webpage promotes adapting the home environment to deal with the challenges Parkinson’s presents and to make everyday routines easier -- such as eating, bathing, and dressing -- to lengthen quality of life and lower stresses of completing activities of daily living. 


Tips for Common Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

By Anne-Marie Botek.  Published by AgingCare.com

Dr. Andrew Feigin shares how to cope with freezing gait, shaking hands too badly to get money out of a wallet, difficulty swallowing food, and leaning forward when walking.  In addition to tips for each, he recommends speech, physical, occupational, and art therapies. 


Tips for Dressing Someone with Parkinson’s

Published by AgingCare.com

This webpage is a list of tips for dressing, including taking the right attitude, adaptive clothing, assisting with shaving and makeup, tips for hair care, manicure and pedicure, and creating a dressing routine that encourages ease of dressing, self care, and safety. 


Podcasts & Webinars

Activities of Daily Living

By Parkinson Canada, March 16, 2018

This 37-minute lecture by occupational therapist Karen Hall shares tips on how you can continue to engage in your activities of daily living with modifications to your tasks and/or environment. Ms. Hall shares several strategies for safety and mobility, including specific examples of clothes, tools and adaptive technology. 


Expert-Level Resources

The Clinical Approach to Gait Disturbances in Parkinson’s Disease; Maintaining Independent Mobility

By N. Giladi and Y. Balash.  Journal of Neural Transmission, 2006, [Suppl] 70 : 327-332

By definition, gait is affected very early on in Parkinson’s disease.  The most significant risk is falls and their deleterious consequences.  In the earliest stages patients should adapt a healthy lifestyle and treat all risk factors for atherosclerosis, dementia and deterioration of physical fitness.  As the disease progresses a multidisciplinary team should employ surgical, mental and physical interventions aimed towards the preservation of independent mobilization and avoiding falls.



Last updated August 2020 by Stanford's Parkinson's Community Outreach.