Adapting a home for someone living with Parkinson’s? With such a lot to consider, the job can feel pretty daunting. 

Taking a strategic approach to the process, and working out which adaptations are needed first and fast, is the best way to ensure the process isn’t too overwhelming and leaves a home feeling unfamiliar.

We’re here to help. These simple adaptations are a great place to start when you need to make a home safer and more comfortable for individuals living with Parkinson’s.

Living With Parkinson’s: The Challenges

The symptoms of Parkinson’s are broad, and everyone’s experience of the disease is different, but they mainly fall into two categories…


Motor symptoms, like stiffness, slowness and tremors, affect movement and balance.

Symptoms like these make elements of mobility really tricky. It’s more difficult for individuals with Parkinson’s to:

  • Walk
  • Bend
  • Sit
  • Reach
  • Twist


Non-motor symptoms, including pain, fatigue, mental health issues and trouble sleeping, also have a huge impact on daily life but cannot as easily be seen from the outside. 

Cognitive problems these symptoms cause include:

  • Not managing to get enough sleep 
  • Difficulty focusing on tasks
  • Trouble remembering
  • Processing and thinking problems

In reality, there are over 40 symptoms of the disease. As it’s a gradual disease, there are many adaptations you can make at home to maintain quality of life. Here we explore three areas of change.

#1 – Stability

Becoming less steady on your feet is a common issue for people living with Parkinson’s. The following changes can vastly improve independence around the home.

Hand Rails

Grab and handrails are durable and practical minor adaptations that you can easily place throughout the house to aid with stability. 

In the bathroom, grab rails beside the toilet or bathtub provide support for individuals lowering themselves down to and pulling up from a seated position. And in showers and by basins, rails give users a place to hold onto when standing for long periods. 

Installing handrails beside doorways provide stability whilst you operate handles and doorknobs or navigate a half-step in split-level floors. 


Because sitting and bending can be difficult when living with Parkinson’s, managing to get down to a sofa or even into bed can feel impossible.

Furniture risers are specialist ‘feet’ that you can fit under existing furniture to safely raise the height. There are many different types on the market, including adjustable options.

If you’re looking to replace certain items of furniture instead, specialist chairs and beds could be worth considering. 

Lift chairs are electrically powered items that tilt and lift as the user begins to stand, giving them a helping hand getting to a standing position. 

Adjustable beds can be useful to help individuals living with Parkinson’s to sit up from lying down. Being height-adjustable and with optional side rails, these beds make getting into and out of bed safe and can reduce pain and dizziness.

#2 – Access

Moving about inside the home is one thing, but what about getting into it in the first place? Many properties, new and old, present multiple challenges to people with reduced mobility.

Here are some changes you can make to improve access.


Installing a ramp up to the front door of the house and even down into the garden at the back, if appropriate, can wildly increase independence and ensure users remain safe in the process.

Temporary ramps can be moved around with ease and are lighter and cheaper to buy. There are a few different types; some fold up into an easy-to-carry case, and others roll up so that you can store them more effectively. Most temporary ramps have a lower weight limit than permanent ramps. 

Permanent ramps tend to fall into two main categories; concrete or modular. Concrete ramps take a while to install because the concrete must be set fully to be usable, whereas metal modular ramps can be moved or changed as quickly and easily.


Some people living with Parkinson’s disease require a walking frame, rollator or wheelchair, which means that typical domestic doorways can be too narrow or impossible to get through.

Widening doorways is a great way to make getting around the home easier. Not only that, but the process makes your property feel more spacious because more light can bounce around the open spaces.


For homes that include flights of stairs, adapting this area means access to upstairs rooms like bathrooms and bedrooms is safer, reducing the risk of trips and falls. 

Efficient lighting, such as sensor-controlled lights that switch on when a user approaches the area and LED strips that can be inlaid to each step helps individuals to use the stairs confidently. 

Double handrails, where possible, provide the utmost support whilst climbing the steps, and non-slip flooring is also advisable. 

#3 – Bathroom

Most accidents happen in the bathroom.

Many adaptations can be made to enhance independence in personal hygiene; some are simpler than others, but none are particularly big projects.


To improve the accessibility of a shower, consider introducing a shower seat. Being able to sit whilst bathing, rather than enduring the issues that standing brings, like balance and fatigue, makes for a much safer experience because it reduces the risk of slips and falls. 

Converting a shower into a level-access shower removes another hazard; the step-up to the shower floor. Level-access showers don’t have trays or steps and are completely level with the bathroom floor, enabling the user to walk in with ease. Read more about them here.

A step further from a level access shower is the wetroom. Wetrooms have slightly angled non-slip flooring and are completely water-resistant, meaning excess water can effectively drain away. Installing some of those handy grab rails at convenient points, like beside the toilet, adds extra support and promotes independent self-care.

Taps And Basins

The dexterity required to turn standard taps can be extremely difficult for people living with Parkinson’s. Lever taps are an alternative adaptation that makes manipulating the temperature much easier for stiff, uncomfortable hands. 

Sinks and basins themselves can be lowered or raised to be more easily accessible for individuals who rely on a wheelchair or other walking aid.


When you want to adapt a toilet to make it more comfortable to use, consider installing a raised-height WC. 

The lower a seat is, the more strain is put on the joints and muscles of the user as they try to sit down on it. Raised height WCs make this process easier because there is a smaller distance to travel. 

Individuals Living With Parkinson’s Disease Need Plenty Of Support

As ever, the more adaptations you can make to a home, the better. But the simple changes we’ve run through in this blog can massively help ease day-to-day life while you, your client or your loved one are awaiting an OT assessment or planning more extensive changes.

Overwhelmed by all of the different equipment available? Confused about funding? Just looking for someone to talk to about supporting a family member living with reduced mobility? Click here and have a look around our website.