Independent living is something we take for granted, but for many people with mobility challenges, the average home simply isn’t set up to accommodate them.

Individuals living with Parkinson’s may come up across numerous challenges within the home, and home adaptations can overcome some of these to improve independent living and ensure individuals are as safe as can be.

What Living With Parkinson’s Looks Like

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive brain disorder. 

The condition is caused by a loss of nerve cells in a particular part of the brain that reduces dopamine production. Dopamine helps regulate our bodies’ movement; without sufficient dopamine levels, the movements our bodies make are compromised.

The main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are tremors, slow movement and stiff muscles. However, there are over 40 symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, covering both motor and non-motor functions, and each person will experience the condition differently. How Parkinson’s affects someone can change daily, even hourly!

Parkinson’s is a progressive disease, meaning symptoms get worse over time. The timeline of the disorder is also highly individual, with some people experiencing acute onset symptoms that become difficult to live with very quickly and others monitoring very slowly progressing symptoms that take years to change.

Because Parkinson’s restricts an individual’s ability to move normally, the risk of trips and falls is increased and living at home can present many challenges.

Living with Parkinson’s is a journey, both mentally and physically, and finding ways to promote independence is key to giving people confidence at home.

Reducing Risk In The Home

Before undertaking any adaptations works, some things can easily be done to reduce the risk of accidents and falls and improve independent living. 


  • Removing rugs and footstools from the floor
  • Clearing floor clutter
  • Creating an open space in the living room
  • Securing furniture and bookshelves to the wall so that they cannot fall when knocked or grasped
  • Enhance the lighting provision to include spotlights as well as ambient lighting to help reduce eye strain.

The Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the spaces in a home where independence can be most crucial. It’s critical that individuals feel confident and can take care of themselves daily, including meal preparation, cooking and keeping the area clean. 

Here are some ways to make a kitchen more accessible for people with Parkinson’s…

Risk: Hot Water

Boiling water used for kitchen activities carries a risk of scalding, so actions like lifting and pouring a kettle or carrying a pan of hot water can be a huge hazard when your mobility is compromised.

Special equipment, like a kettle tipper, which is a frame that enables the user to tilt the kettle to pour it rather than lift it, can help. However, filling the kettle itself can still be tricky.

Another adaptation that provides easy access to hot water is a hot water tap, but users need to be extremely careful when the water is running to avoid scalding. 

Many people find a one-cup kettle or water filter is the go-to solution for people with Parkinson’s disease because there is no lifting involved, and the boiling water is dispensed directly into the vessel. Being able to do simple tasks like making a cup of tea can be an important part of independent living. 

Risk: Hob Burns

The naked flame of a gas hob and the hot plates of an electric hob pose a serious risk of burns.

For this reason, an induction hob is the safest cooking unit available for people living with Parkinson’s disease. Induction hobs are a type of electric hob that feature induction coils beneath their glass surface. When a pan is placed upon the hob, only the pan itself heats up while the cooking surface remains completely cool, eliminating the risk of hob burns. 

Risk: Falls

Standing for long periods while performing kitchen tasks can tire the body quickly and increase the risk of falling. 

To support individuals with kitchen activities, prepare areas near sinks and worktops with seating options like perch stools. Perch stools are height-adjustable, padded seats that enable users to sit in a half-seated position, safe, secure and resting. 

Risk: Accidents While Preparing Food

Knives are sharp. Chopping, peeling and cutting pose a risk of cuts, lacerations and other injuries. 

To help reduce the risk of accidents while preparing food, install additional spotlighting over worktops as well as enhanced ambient lighting; this prevents eyes from having to strain. 


The bathroom is a space where dignity is pivotal. It’s also a room in the house where accidents are likely. Here are some of the potential issues. 

Risk: Slipping

Because bathrooms tend to be full of moisture, moving around this space presents a high risk of slipping. 

To improve bathroom safety for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, lay textured flooring to help feet and shoes get a better grip, even if there is water on the surface. 

Installing grab rails in places near landmark facilities, like toilets and showers, also gives users something to hold onto when they begin to fatigue or provides leverage for tricky movements. 

Risk: Falling In The Shower

Performing personal hygiene tasks is a key part of maintaining independence in the home for people with Parkinson’s disease. But standing in the shower for a long time can mean a user tires or becomes unsteady on their feet.

The answer?

A shower seat. It does exactly what it says on the tin, providing a safe place to sit whilst washing to prevent slips and falls.

Living For People With Parkinson's

Risk: Tripping

Lifting your feet high enough to step over the edge of a shower tray or bathtub can be difficult for bodies experiencing mobility challenges. 

Level-access showers and accessible bathtubs are two solutions that can reduce the risk of tripping in the bathroom. Level access showers sit flush with the bathroom flooring, meaning there is nothing to step over, and accessible baths feature a door for the user to walk or wheel through. 

Risk: Difficulty Sitting Down On And Standing Up From The Toilet

Conventional WCs sit too low for most people with limited mobility. Sitting down on the seat or lifting from it can strain the muscles and be extremely painful or even impossible. 

Installing a toilet with a higher seat is often much more comfortable, enabling users to use the facility without help.

Another solution to toilet difficulties is to opt for a Closomat wash and dry toilet. Closomat toilets are wall hung, customisable to the user’s height and reduce the need for fiddly toilet paper due to the efficient and highly hygienic wash and dry functions. Accessible toilets like these remove the need for additional support and preserve the dignity of people with Parkinson’s. 


Staircases large and small can be daunting; even a few steps between a split-level room can cause worry and discomfort for people with reduced mobility. 

Risk: Falling

Installing a stairlift reduces the risk of trips and falls when travelling up and down the stairs. A stairlift provides a safe and simple way to access the upper levels of a property.

For shorter flights of a couple of steps, a ramp or step lift can help with getting from one level to another. 

For more about home lifts, read this blog.

 Independent Living For People With Parkinson's

Improve Daily Living For People With Parkinson’s

The 3 areas we’ve covered in this blog are a great place to start when improving independent living for people with Parkinson’s disease. 

Wondering if there’s funding available for your planned adaptations? Looking for stress-free, no-nonsense advice for improving the homelife of someone you know? See our website to find out more about us.