Parkinsons Disease Info for the Family

The progressive neurological condition known as Parkinsons Disease is thought to affect one out of every 500 people in the UK. The 127,000 people living with the disease suffer from progressive brain damage with no known cure. Men are more likely to get the disease with women and symptoms are much more likely to appear after age 50.

 

Parkinsons is caused by the loss of nerve cells which produce dopamine. Without dopamine, a person’s movements become slower and even simple tasks become laborious. Other symptoms include slowness of movement, stiffness of movement, and tremors. At first, these symptoms may be more noticeable to close friends and family, but worsen overtime. A wide range of physical and psychological symptoms can also accompany Parkinsons, including depression, constipation, insomnia, loss of smell, and memory issues. Each patient’s experience with Parkinsons is different and some may exhibit symptoms to a greater or lesser degree.

Living with Parkinsons

For both the individual as well as their friends and family, living with Parkinsons can be emotional. While there is no known cure, there are treatments available which help manage symptoms. Most of the drug therapies are focused on increasing dopamine. In addition to drug therapies, speech therapy, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy may be used to help control symptoms.

 

For the patient, living with the disease can be stressful. Staying physically and mentally fit can help reduce stress. Regular exercise also helps relieve muscle stiffness. In addition, a healthy, well-balanced diet can help lift mood and enhance immune system. Most importantly, talking with a GP, support group, and trusted loved ones is vital to managing stress.

 

The slow, stiff movements and tremors can make daily tasks difficult. Fortunately, a variety of assistive devices and aides can help make daily living easier for people with Parkinsons.

Practical Aides

People living with Parkinsons want to retain their independence as long as possible. Doing so also helps with self-esteem and alleviates depression. For each aspect of daily living, there are a variety of assistive devices available.

Bathing

Getting in and out of the bath or shower safely is difficult with stiff, sore muscles and tremors. Devices such as grab rails can help make this task easier and safer. Once in the shower or tub, options like bath steps, tap turners, and long-handled sponges make it easier for patients to attend to their personal hygiene.

Getting Dressed

Getting dressed with stiff, trembling fingers and hands can seem nearly impossible. With devices like extra-long shoe horns, long handled combs and brushes, and special shoe laces make the task of dressing and undressing easier.

Eating and Drinking

Tremors and shaking can make it difficult to eat and drink without spilling. Traditional cutlery and cups can seem nearly impossible to use. Weighted forks and knives coupled with plate surrounds and guards make it easier for people with Parkinsons to feed themselves at meal time.

In the Kitchen

The kitchen can be a scary and dangerous place for people with Parkinsons. Fortunately many products exist to make the kitchen a safer place. Kettle tippers, hot drink dispensers, food prep aides, and non-slip mats all help avoid accidents and burns.

Day to Day Living

Doing simple tasks around the house can be quite difficult. Products like key turners, grab rails, and plug pulls can make these tasks easier.

 

With support and assistive devices, patients with Parkinsons Disease can maintain their independence longer and manage symptoms. 

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More information

Please note: VAT is removed in the checkout process

In the UK, disabled people do not have to pay VAT when buying certain disability aids and services (This can be claimed by friend or family member purchasing on their behalf). Not everything supplied to disabled people is necessarily zero-rated for VAT. Goods and services on which you do not have to pay VAT are usually known as 'zero-rated' or 'eligible for VAT relief.

Who is eligible for VAT relief?

You must be 'chronically sick or disabled' to qualify for VAT relief. The HMRC comment on this is as follows. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they either:

VAT Relief on our Disability Aids

All products on the Aids for Mobility website are flagged with an option to claim VAT relief during Checkout if it applies to that item. When you add a zero-rated product or service to your Basket, you will be asked to tick a checkbox to confirm that you, or the person for whom you are buying the item, are eligible for VAT Relief.

How VAT relief works

If you are claiming VAT Relief you will be asked to complete an extra few questions during Checkout, where we will ask you to provide brief details of your disability and confirmation that the product is for 'personal or domestic use'. We will keep a record of this declaration along with your order details. You can then buy the product(s) in your Basket at a price that excludes VAT. You will be asked to make this declaration each time you place an order that includes zero-rated products. It is a legal requirement that we record this information for every order, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

More information from HMRC

You can find out more about VAT Relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you cannot find the answer to your questions there or would prefer to speak to an adviser, you can call their Helpline on 0845 302 02 03.

The helpline is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. (Closed weekends and bank holidays).