2016 Christmas Gift List for People with Parkinson’s Disease

Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland

Well, it’s that time of year again. PJ’s annual Christmas Gift-giving Idea List. What I’ve done in the past is posted the previous lists, most recent to latest and then added to the previous list but this year I will link to the previous list and list the new products separately below, as the list is otherwise pretty overwhelming (but good!). So… here goes:

2016 Christmas Gift List for People with Parkinson’s Disease

There is an excellent website (stander.com) that carries many awesome products for people with disabilities in general, but after looking at what they offer, it is a great site for PD people. A handle that helps you get up and out of your car (item name: Handy Bar), a device (EZ Stand-N-Go 2200) to get up off the couch, a walker (EZ Fold-N-Go Walker 4300) that folds like a manageable stroller, grips for door knobs that enable you to more easily turn knobs on closet door, bathroom doors, etc. Another favorite: A Lever Extender that attaches to recliner handles for easier ups and downs. All products can be found at their website above.

img_3426 There is a company that makes beautiful bags/pouches for people with wheelchairs, walkers, etc. The company, HDS Medallion, makes carry-all bags that “make a statement”. They are easy to attach and there are lots of great designs for both men and women and attach with Velcro straps.

Nuberella helps avoid an unplanned weather shower. The uniquely designed umbrella especially for someone living with a disibility can be adjusted to the body for a hands free protection that fits right over wheelchairs or sits atop your head.

Wheelchair Accessible Game Table – Every night is poker night with this wheelchair accessible game table. Games such as checkers, chess, and backgammon are featured on the laminate top, equipped with safety edges, eliminating bruises from accidental bumps. And, if you’re not quite ready for a wheelchair, the table leaves extra ‘under the table space’ for passing cards underneath.
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Keystone Electronic Tough Winter Gloves are equipped with Tech Touch pods which allow use of iPod, iPhone or other products while keeping hands warm in the winter. I like the ‘keeping hand warm in the winter’ part best.
Easy Grip Jar & Bottle Opener is a convenient bottle opener, magnet, and gripper all-in-one product that alleviates joint pain while struggling to open medicine bottles or small water bottle caps.

img_3430Be Fit Over Fifty is an exercise program that would make a great gift for anyone with a disability who would rather do their workout at home. There is a program tailored to people with PD.

Mobility Step by Miles Kimball, a manufacturer of products geared to people with disabilities, makes a step that makes it safer to get in and out of rooms with high steps.

Herbal Heat Therapy (8 Oz) Organic Pain Relief Cream and Body Calm Cream 8 Oz Organic Arnica & Msm infused in Shea Butter are great for tight and sore muscles. Used for bruises and more, I have been using something similar to this for about two years for stiffness and soreness. It works wonders! I use a generic version of Arnica Gel (or cream but the gel dries quickly and doesn’t leave that greasy feeling). It is available at WalMart or Walgreens (and probably other retail stores.

img_3424Yoga Toes are gel toe stretchers and separators for instant therapeutic relief for your feet and who, with PD, wouldn’t want to try some curling toe relief???

Several readers have commented that their PWP’s favorite things are flashlights and laser pointers, which you can find just about anywhere.  I am not sure why. Can someone enlighten me, as I’d like to know.

img_3427Friends with Diverse Abilities Figure Set by Constructive Playthings is a set of people of different ages that have disabilities.I included this set with this gift list because, what better way to teach youngsters about disabilities than through every day play/printed games that teach disabilities are just as normal as… being ‘normal’! They appear to be dollhouse size.

img_3425Roof Access Sign was listed in Amazon’s ‘disability products’ search and so, after much contemplation, I finally realized why it was there. It’s for caregivers!!! They will need directions to the roof so they have somewhere to go and scream when we are giving them a hard day!!! So, should you need a ‘roof access’ sign, you can find one here.

And now, my favorite

When I attended a Parkinson’s this past summer, it was asked of  panel made up of doctors, people with PD, and others, what is the best way to exercise and the doctor on that panel answered – get a dog.  Yes, get a dog. Get a dog that will get you outside. Get a dog that will get you walking regularly, which is one of the best things a person with PD can be doing..

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A dog, if trained well, can assist in keeping you more balanced. Will protect you. Is a great companion and friend. So, if you just can’t bring yourself to getting the person in your life that has PD, send me one. I like Labs. Or German Shepherds. Or well, surprise me.

The Arrows of God

    Hollyhock LoveHollyhock Love

The other day a friend who also has Parkinson’s disease (PD) put up a post (that I’m fairly certain stemmed from her personal experience of how people react/relate to her in her dealings with ‘our’ disease) on Faebook.

She said having PD changes her personality, her thinking, and her decision-making skills. She said she liked her old personality. How true this statement is for people having to deal with this little monster. Yes indeed, we would love to have our ‘old’ personalities back, for sure.

She said that hEric PD causes anxiety and depression. I can whole-heartedly relate to this statement.

She said that she appreciates the kindness of others when they hear things that should be obvious [and understandable] come out of her mouth. She appreciates their kindness when they see her do things that may seem dumb, say something backwards, or not know how to answer a sincere, “How are you?” Again, I can relate.

For this type of disease – a brain disease – she does ‘one day at a time’. It’s a brain disease. Not like the flu where you can hopefully sleep it away. Not like a cold that you might be able to sneeze or cough it away. It is a disease of the brain which is intolerable often, undeniably unpredictable at times, greatly misunderstood, and sadly – incurable. It is no secret that the public, by and large, is uneducated, misinformed, and unknowledgeable about Parkinson’s disease.

If you asked someone what Parkinson’s disease is, most people would say, “Isn’t that where you shake a lot – like Michael J. Fox?”

Yes. And no.

Some shake (with tremors) and some (although much lower in number) do not shake at all. Some shake (like Michael J. Fox has been seen to do) on a greater scale, some much less. But it doesn’t start or stop there. There are many more symptoms a person with PD deals with. Visible and many more that are invisible.

Along with the things my friend mentions, you can experience some level of forgetfulness and confusion, as eluded to by her comment in regards to needing help with her DVD player. Now, given that DVD players are naturally frustrating (for me, at least), add that confusion to a person with Parkinson’s disease and you have a major melt-down about to occur, especially if that aforementioned person, with the aforementioned forthcoming possible melt-down has missed one or more of their much needed anti-depressant drug. This can only serve to intensify the forgetfulness and confusion.

I know about this – the forgetfulness and the confusion – because I know this: Parkinson’s disease. As my friend said in her post, “I can’t even work my DVD and my son put on labels with arrows to show me how.”

Her son “put[s] on labels with arrows to show [her] how to” work her DVD. I’m afraid labels wouldn’t be enough for me. I need a full-time techie to serve in that area.

But the arrows – I can follow arrows. I’m really good at following arrows and when my friend wrote that her son labels her DVD player not just with’labels’ but arrows, I had an epiphany…

God has a set of arrows for each one of us. He marks our path, whether we would choose that path or not, with His arrows. And the path marked with the arrows of God are arrows that are leading us out of this world. The paths we are on are leading us home. To a better place. The paths are not marked with maps that remind us of navigating a DVD player, but they are marked with arrows that are easy to follow and as long as we follow them and do not turn to the left or to the right, make a U-Turn or plant ourselves in the middle of the road out of defiance, we are going to male it home. The One who is ushering us out of this world with endless mercy and unending grace is the same One who is waiting to usher in into eternity. I don’t know about you, but that encourages me and gives me great hope.

All we have to do…

…is follow His arrows.

An Attempt at Ekphrasis

Ekphrasis.

img_2971Definition:
Ekphrasis or ecphrasis, from the Greek for the description of a work of art produced as a rhetorical exercise, often used in the adjectival form ekphrastic, is a graphic, often dramatic, verbal description of a visual work of art, either real or imagined.

The following is an attempt at a work of ‘ekphrasis’, inspired by a challenge given by a health site.
Pure, white petals
sit softly atop a limb,
reminding me not only of a new season
quickly approaching,
but new life given to me.
The importance
and pureness
of grace.

Grace so amazing.
Grace so undeserved.
Grace that keeps me
longing,
hoping,
focusing
on ‘home’.

Pure,
white petals
that remind me
of a Joni Earekson Tada song
from several years ago.

Injured while diving
one warm summer day
with friends.
She dove down into the lake near her home,
she never walked again
when she came up
out of the water.

After years of rehabilitation,
she has spent the rest of her days
encouraging others
with
and
without disabilities.

Here is her song
called, Joni’s Waltz, (song #7, 22:02 on YouTube)
written by Nancy Honeycomb:

Though I spend my mortal lifetime in this chair,

I refuse to waste it living in despair.
And though others may receive
Gifts of healing, I believe
That He has given me a gift beyond compare….
For heaven is nearer to me,
And at times it is all I can see.
Sweet music I hear
Coming down to my ear;
And I know that it’s playing for me.

For I am Christ the Savior’s own bride,
And redeemed I shall stand by His side.
He will say, “Shall we dance?”
And our endless romance
Will be worth all the tears I have cried.

 

Pure, white petals

a symbol of innocence regained,

life made new.