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Beryl Rhodes, who has Parkinson's, drying up in her kitchen

Enjoying a worry-free festive season with Parkinson's

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For many people, overcooking the turkey is the biggest worry they'll face during the holiday season. For people with Parkinson's, however, Christmas time can present some extra challenges.

Queues in shops, difficulty parking the car, a constant flow of visitors, and limited medical support can all increase stress and lead to symptoms appearing worse than normal.

So we've put together a few tips on making the holiday season as stress-free and fun as possible. 

Things to keep in mind

It's important to plan ahead to make the festive season an enjoyable time. Here are some handy hints to make your Christmas go smoothly:

  • Make sure that you have enough medication to last over the holiday period. If you're running low, remember to check the Christmas opening times of your pharmacist/GP.
  • Share any extra workload with family and friends.
  • Get your shopping done in advance to avoid extra stress and big queues. Online shopping is a good way to avoid the shops at busy times.
  • It's important that if you have home care or live in a residential or nursing home that the carers are aware of your plans and needs over the holiday period. 

Managing medication

We all over-indulge during the holiday period. Some people with Parkinson's may find that if they take their levodopa-based medication alongside a high protein meal it's not as effective.

Taking your levodopa-based medication half an hour before you eat can often help.

As long as you don't have any other medical issues, alcohol in moderation is generally not a problem. 

Accessing medical services

As with any other time of year, people can become ill over the holiday period and there will always be help available if this happens.

If you become ill, your GP surgery will be running an out-of-hours service. 

If you need to speak to somebody urgently, please contact: 

  • NHS (England) - 111
  • NHS Direct (Wales) - 0845 46 47
  • NHS 24 (Scotland) - 111
  • If you live in Northern Ireland please dial 999 or your out-of-hours GP service.
  • Samaritans (UK-wide) - 116 123 

Parkinson's UK helpline Christmas hours 

Our free helpline 0808 800 0303 will be open at limited times over the holiday period. 

We can be very busy during this time so our main focus will be on dealing with medical enquiries as these are the greatest priority for people with Parkinson's. 

Helpline Christmas opening hours:
Friday 23 December: 9am-7pm
Christmas Eve: 10am-1pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: Closed
Tuesday 27 December: Closed
Wednesday 28 December: 10am-2pm
Thursday 29 December: 10am-2pm
Friday 30 December: 10am-2pm
New Year's Eve: 10am-2pm
New Year's Day: Closed
Monday 2 January: Closed
Tuesday 3 January: 9am-7pm 

Is someone with Parkinson's visiting you?

If you're entertaining guests with Parkinson's, you might want to read our Diet and Parkinson's booklet to prepare for their Christmas dinner and our Parkinson's Carer's Guide.

We wish you a very happy and peaceful break and send our best wishes for the New Year.