Adapted from HealthSouth Wellness Information and Tools for Health

As an acute rehabilitation hospital, HealthSouth Sea Pines understands the everyday challenges associated with Parkinson’s disease. While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, there are many ways individuals can manage symptoms and improve quality of life. To help improve the lives of Parkinson’s patients, Sea Pines presents the following tips for staying safe in environments outside of the rehabilitation hospital.

Safety in the Home

  • Remove all throw rugs.
  • When bending over to pick something up, hold onto a sturdy object, not the walker.
  • Walk up close to a cupboard or shelf before reaching. Do not lean forward to reach!
  • Move your kitchen table close to the counter so you can reach easily without moving to transfer dishes from one space to another.
  • Keep commonly used items within easy reach at waist-high levels.
  • When you sit down, always back up (using the walker) until your legs touch the seat. Reach back and grab the chair, one hand at a time, and sit down.
  • When standing up, move the walker close and in front of you. Always push with your hands from the seat or chair. Never pull on your walker–it can tip over.
  • Attach a bag or basket to the front of the walker, or wear an apron with pockets to assist with carrying small items such as glasses, cordless phone, etc.

Getting in and out of a car

  • Move the car seat all the way back to allow room.
  • Watch head clearance.
  • Sit on the seat and swing in both legs.
  • To get out, swing both legs out, place the walker in front of you and stand up.
  • When standing up, do not pull on the walker.

Wheelchair safety tips

You may need a wheelchair for daily activities, community mobility or when you become fatigued. Remember to:

  • Lock your brakes before reaching forward.
  • When going down a slope, keep your hands on the wheel rims to guide and slow your wheel chair.
  • Remember to wear your seatbelt when performing any activity.
  • If you have “grade-aids” on your wheelchair, you can use them to help you in two ways:
    • To propel up a sloped driveway, sidewalk or ramp. They act as a brake and won’t let you roll back.
    • To help in slowing the wheelchair down when going down a ramp, sloped driveway or sidewalk. You still need to keep you hands on your wheel rims for safety and control.

Being more mindful of safe movement at home will only help Parkinson’s patients continue to be a part of their community and live their lives to the fullest extent possible! For more information, or questions about acute rehabilitation and options available to Parkinson’s patients, please call 321-984-4600 or visit