White snowflakes on a blue background

Living with Parkinson's this festive season


Christmas is traditionally a time for fun and relaxation. But for people with Parkinson's it can be an overwhelming time - with busy shops, trouble parking, lots of visitors and limited medical support.

To help ease the stress, we've put together a few tips to help make this Christmas and New Year as easy and enjoyable as possible for people with Parkinson's.

Plan ahead

It's important to make plans in advance to make the festive season go as smoothly as possible.

Here are some handy hints to keep in mind:

  • Medication - make sure you have enough of any required medication to last over the holiday period.

  • Share the load - if there's any extra work to be done, share this among family and friends.

  • Get in early - try to get your shopping done in advance to avoid the extra stress of queues, busy shops and parking.

  • Care plan - if you have home care or live in a residential or nursing home, it's important to discuss your plans for the holiday period with your carers and ensure that they’re aware of your plans and needs.

Managing medication

We all often over-indulge during the holiday period. Some people with Parkinson's may find that high protein meals can reduce the effectiveness of levodopa-based medication. Taking your 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 OK.

Parkinson's UK Helpline

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

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

Our free helpline 0808 800 0303 will be running reduced hours between Friday 22 December and Tuesday 2 January:

Friday 22 December

9am to 7pm

Saturday 23 December

10am to 1pm

Sunday 24 December to Tuesday 26 December


Wednesday 27 December

10am to 2pm

Thursday 28 December

10am to 2pm

Friday 29 December

10am to 2pm

Saturday 30 December to Monday 1 January


Tuesday 2 January

9am to 7pm

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.

Accessing medical services

If you need to speak to someone 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

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