Birthdays and holidays always present a challenge. What do you get for your loved ones? If your friend, partner, or relative has Parkinson’s disease, you’ll want to make sure you give them something that’s useful, appropriate, and safe.
Here are a few ideas to help you get started on your search for the perfect gift.
Parkinson’s makes people more sensitive to the cold. During the winter months, or the cool fall and spring days, a heated throw or blanket will keep your loved one warm and cozy.
Parkinson’s side effects can cause vision problems that make it hard to focus on the words on a page. Dexterity issues affect the ability to turn the pages. Solve both problems by buying a Nook, Kindle, or another e-reader. If reading a printed book is too hard, gift them with a subscription service to something like Audible or Scribd.
Parkinson’s can leave muscles feeling tight and sore. A massage can be just the thing to ease the stiffness and promote relaxation. To avoid injury, make sure the massage therapist has some experience working with people who have conditions like Parkinson’s.
Add in a manicure/pedicure for an extra treat. Parkinson’s stiffness can make it harder to bend over and reach the toes. Your friend or family member will appreciate having this service done for them.
Slippers are comfortable to wear around the house, but they can be dangerous for people with Parkinson’s because they may slip off their feet and lead to a fall. A better option is a warm pair of slipper socks with non-skid treads on the bottoms.
Parkinson’s can tighten muscles of the feet, just as it does in other parts of the body. A foot massager helps to relieve muscle cramps in the feet and promote overall relaxation. When choosing a massager, visit an electronics store and try out several models to find one that applies gentle pressure but doesn’t squeeze too hard.
For your loved one with Parkinson’s disease, cleaning around the house can seem like an impossible task. Help them keep a happy and clean home by signing them up for a cleaning service like Handy.
Rigid muscles can make walking more difficult and dangerous than it once was. Falling is a real risk for people with Parkinson’s.
If your loved one isn’t ready for a cane or walker, buy them a cool hiking stick. Not sure which type to buy? Ask a physical therapist who works with Parkinson’s patients for advice.
Having to bend over in the shower is hard for someone with limited mobility. It could result in a fall. A shower caddy keeps bath accessories like soap, shampoo, conditioner, and bath sponge within arm’s reach.
Rock Steady boxing classes
Boxing might not seem the best-suited exercise for someone with Parkinson’s, but a program called Rock Steady is specially designed to meet the changing physical needs of people with this condition. Rock Steady classes improve balance, core strength, flexibility, and gait (walk) to help people with Parkinson’s get around more easily in their daily lives. Rock Steady classes are held around the country.
Meal delivery service
Limited mobility can make it challenging to shop for and prepare food. Make the process easier by purchasing a service that delivers pre-made meals right to your loved one’s home.
Limited mobility can make it harder for your loved one to go to a movie theater. Bring the movies to their home with a gift certificate to a streaming or DVD movie subscription service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
Parkinson’s affects motor skills, vision, and coordination, which are all required to drive a car safely. Also, the cost of owning and maintaining a vehicle may be out of reach for someone with medical bills to pay — especially if the person can no longer work.
If your loved one can’t drive, help them get around by purchasing a gift certificate to a car service like Uber or Lyft. Or, to save money, create a gift certificate for your own personalized car service.
A personal home assistant can come in handy, but hiring the real thing may be a bit out of your budget. Instead, get your friend or family member a smart speaker like Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, or Siri.
These devices can play music, make purchases online, give weather reports, set timers and alarms, and turn lights off and on, all with simple voice commands. They cost between $35 and $400. Some also charge a monthly fee for the service.
If the person on your list has everything they need, making a donation in their name is always a great gift. Donations to organizations like the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation support groundbreaking research toward a cure and provide exercise classes and other critical services to people with the condition.
When you’re not sure what gift to buy your loved one with Parkinson’s disease, think mobility and comfort. A heated blanket, slip-proof slippers or socks, or a warm robe are all great gifts to keep the person warm in the winter. Gift cards to a meal plan or car service offer them ease and convenience.
If you’re still stumped, donate to fund Parkinson’s research and support services. A donation is one gift that will continue to help your loved one, as well as other people with Parkinson’s disease, for many years to come.