Parkinson’s Disease and Using Doors and Locks: Devices to Improve in-Home Accessibility

There are no doubt plenty of challenges for sufferers of Parkinson's disease that affect the way they live their life and how they move around the home. Still, independent living is possible for those affected by the degenerative neuron disease responsible for movement difficulties such as shaking and rigidness, which can make everyday tasks such as opening and locking doors a challenge. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to assist sufferers, and one of the important areas to focus on is the home's entry including the ease of opening and unlocking doors.

1. Adaptive Key Turners

These ergonomic devices fit like a glove over a regular key, providing more leverage and dexterity for those experiencing weakness in hand strength, including those experiencing difficulties turning keys in locks. These are available from medical supply stores, key cutting outlets, locksmiths and some hardware stores.

2. Keyless Entry Locks

One of the most effective options to remove the difficulty those with Parkinson's disease experience when opening and locking doors is install electronic locks. These operate wirelessly from varying distances, though it can be quite far, with the press of a button on a key fob. There are many different keyless entry options available including latches and cylinder locks, as well as fobs which can be reprogrammed with unique codes for added security.  

3. Modified Door Handles

Special door handles in the home will make opening internal doors and moving between rooms much easier. Doors with those with lever-style handles that require a downward motion to open rather than a twisting movement will be easier to operate for those with stiffness or rigidity in the hands.

4. Wall Handles at Doorways

On the walls adjacent to doorways both inside and outside the home, those suffering from the symptoms of Parkinson's will benefit from specialised handles adjacent to doorways. This adds stability as they can hold the door handle with one hand and hold the grab bar with the other while moving through doorways. 

An occupational therapist will be able to advise specifically ways to facilitate ease of movement around the home for those living with Parkinson's disease, with an important area to consider being ease of access around entry points. Speak to a locksmith from a business like High Security Locksmiths to learn about different door and lock options, specifically for the home's main entryway, that will allow for continued security and greater manoeuvrability.