December 2020. A challenging time to be celebrating the holidays. Many of us will have to forgo spending this otherwise joyous season with our loved ones. And while we won’t necessarily be together, there are countless ways we can be supportive and creative, particularly when it comes to older relatives, and those faced with mobility challenges due to Parkinson’s, MS, ataxia, or aging.
When choosing holiday gifts this year, think of products and services that will make life easier for these individuals and send a message of caring and love that will last way beyond the holiday season.
I’ll start my list of gift-giving ideas with the one I consider the greatest gift you can give: The gift of walking.
How can you do that? Let me tell you a story.
Shortly before Christmas a number of years ago, a woman from Italy contacted me. She was very worried about her father, who was suffering from advanced Parkinson’s and stopped getting out of bed because he could no longer walk. I suggested that she may want to consider ordering a U-Step Walker for him, which she did, despite the high cost of international shipping. She wrote that “immediately after receiving his U-Step, my father was able to leave his room and get back to his life – because he got back his ability to walk. This was the best Christmas present I could have ever given him. Thank you!”
Another way to give the gift of walking is with the LaserCue, a wonderful device In-Step created together with Michael J. Fox. The LaserCue is an attachment module that fits on virtually any cane and projects a laser light onto the floor to prevent a condition known as gait freezing. This device helps people with Parkinson’s keep moving.
Here are a few additional holiday gift ideas for 2020 which focus on staying safe at home:
Sessions for TeleHealth
With many services moving online, look into purchasing a series of physical therapy sessions or instructive courses. Our friends at VirtualKare are offering an 8-week session beginning January 28 on Living Well With Parkinson’s, and have offered a $50 discount for U-Step customers, with the code U50.
The Gift of Grab
These grabber/reachers are extremely handy, especially for anyone with mobility issues that prevent them from stretching to reach an item that is beyond their field of movement.
Bring gardening inside
Make gardening accessible for those who can’t bend or go outside. This ergonomically-designed metal planter is elevated, movable and sturdy, and is adjustable, so the gardener can even sit while gardening.
Quality supportive shoes can be expensive. Surprise your loved one with a pair of comfortable, balanced shoes. Slip-ons and shoes with elastic shoelaces in place work best and are easiest to put on and take off. Buckle-close shoes and Velcro-closing shoes also work well.
On-Line Wellness Classes
Gifting your loved one with an online wellness class can help them build core strength and agility. Numerous classes are available, specifically for those with limited mobility, and include yoga, tai chi, and core movement classes. Make sure they have approval from their medical professional to participate.
Spotify or Audible Subscription
With the pandemic preventing many from leaving the house, consider the gift of music and audiobooks subscriptions such as Spotify or Audible.
Personalized Custom Cane
Choosing a personalized cane will give your loved one the chance to express themselves through their mobility accessory – with colors, patterns, and personalized inscription. This website has a great selection of custom options. And remember, the LaserCue can be attached to most standard-sized canes and comes in three different designs, so you can make the right choice for whichever cane you choose.
Remember that giving someone back their mobility is giving them continued independence and freedom. In my mind, there is no greater gift.
Wishing all of our customers, caregivers, physical therapists, and readers a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy 2021.