Keep yourself and your house warm
Parkinson's affects the nervous system, which controls body temperature, so people with Parkinson's can be more sensitive to heat and cold.
There are a few simple things you can do to help keep your body temperature up:
- Wrap up warm inside and outside the house.
- Wear plenty of thin layers, rather than one thick one, and wear cotton, wool or fleecy synthetic fibres.
- Wear a hat and bed socks in bed if you get cold at night.
- Heat all the rooms you spend the day in. Or if you can't keep all the rooms heated, try and keep one room heated for the day and your bedroom heated just before you go to bed.
- Set your heating to come on just before you get up, and to turn off after you go to bed.
There are grants that can contribute to energy bills and help keep your home warm in winter. Read more about Cold Winter Payment, Warm House Discount and the Winter Fuel Payment.
Ensure you have enough medicine
Talk to your GP and pharmacist to ensure you have enough medication to last you through any periods of severe weather. Should you run out, find out how you can get an emergency supply of medication.
You are now able to order repeat prescriptions online using services such as the NHS App or the NHS website’s repeat prescription service. Your prescriptions are then sent directly to a pharmacy of your choice. This means you do not have to go out in cold weather to collect a paper prescription from your GP surgery. Read more about ordering prescriptions online.
Many pharmacies offer a home delivery service for prescriptions. You should ask your pharmacist for more information about the services they provide.
During winter, you may be inside more, but staying active is still important for your physical and mental wellbeing. Moving about and getting some light exercise can also help you to keep warm. We've compiled some of our top tips to help you get active in winter:
- Come up with a plan. You could put reminders in your diary or calendar, or set up a reminder on your smartphone or mobile device. You could even download a fitness app, or keep a record of your progress on a daily or weekly basis.
- Join a club. Physical activity groups for people with Parkinson's continue to grow in popularity across the UK and whether you prefer Nordic walking, non-contact boxing, having a kick about at a walking football class, or going to your local gym, there's always something that you can try. Our local activity finder can help you find classes near you.
- Make it part of your routine. Whether you try to move more when you're doing the housework, or you try some chair-based exercises, if you prefer to stay indoors in winter then you can still make physical activity part of your everyday routine.
- Doing something is better than doing nothing. Whether you like to be active from home or you are a keen gym-goer, there's always something you can do. Try to vary the exercises or activities you do regularly.
- You don't have to do it on your own. Whether you're active with a friend or you exercise together as a family, try to find activities you can do together, such as vigorous walking or running.
From chair-based aerobics to balance exercises, we have brought together a range of video workouts you can do from the comfort of your own home.
Risk of falls
Loss of balance and falling affect many people with Parkinson’s. You should take extra care in winter if you do have to go out in icy conditions. To stay safe:
- Wear shoes with low heels or flat, rubber soles as these provide better traction on ice and snow. Take your shoes off as soon as you get home. Snow and ice can stick to your soles and cause slippery conditions as they melt.
- If you use a walking stick, check for wear and tear. If the tip of the stick (the ferrule) becomes worn, it should be replaced. Your local physiotherapy department can do this for you.
- Think about what route you will take to your destination and allow extra time to get there.
- Be aware of your surroundings as some places can stay icy for longer.
- Use handrails for support where you can.
- Don’t be afraid of asking for help walking outside if you need it.
If you know someone who has Parkinson's
If your friend, relative or neighbour has Parkinson's, it's especially important to check on them regularly during winter. Older people are particularly vulnerable at this time of year.
Think about arranging to visit, or call or text your loved one regularly. It can give you both peace of mind. There are other ways you can help if you are local - you could offer to do someone’s shopping for example, or clear their pathway if it has snowed or is icy.
If you're feeling unwell
Call the non-emergency NHS helpline for advice if you start feeling unwell.
- 111 if you live in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, or the following areas in Wales: Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay (including Bridgend).
- 0845 4647 (NHS Direct) if you live in other parts of Wales.
For people with Parkinson’s, there's no increased risk of catching coronavirus. Read more about Parkinson's and coronavirus. The advice for people with Parkinson's is the same as for the general population. Find current coronavirus information and guidance on the gov.uk website.
Free flu jabs
You can book an appointment directly with your GP, or the NHS will contact you inviting you to book.