Assistive engineering (AT) can help folks with Parkinson’s disease (PD) entire actions of day-to-day dwelling, these as cooking, consuming, dressing, composing, and strolling. The Assistive Technological know-how Industry Association defines AT as “any merchandise, piece of gear, program software, or solution system that is utilised to enhance, manage, or make improvements to the practical abilities of individuals with disabilities.”
Thanks to advancements in technologies, many products and computer software can assist those with PD or other mobility troubles. My sister, Bev, who has phase 3 PD, makes use of a rollator or cane at situations, and some computer system-assisted gadgets. Parkinson’s Information Today columnist Samantha Felder not too long ago wrote about applications that can advantage people today with PD.
Despite the availability of apps and devices, employing these technologies could be hard for these with cognitive challenges, or for older individuals who are not familiar with smartphones or personal computers.
At 83, Bev has an Apple iphone given to her by her son, but she has difficulty using it since of the small, great finger actions necessary and her imagined-processing difficulties.
She makes use of a stylus to sort on the phone’s keypad, which is sluggish and cumbersome. Even though I proposed she use the voice-typing attribute and showed her how, she sticks with her stylus. I simply cannot get her to use voice dictation! She also has difficulty utilizing other characteristics, this sort of as sending images by using textual content, so I have published down techniques she can refer to.
Numerous gadgets and systems can make it a lot easier for persons with PD to work computer systems. Bev works by using several of these.
Keyguards and keyboards
Keyguards are commonly metallic or plastic and have holes cut out to suit more than every single crucial on the keyboard. I purchased Bev a keyboard that has greater keys, backlighting, and a keyguard. It can help her make less typing mistakes, and she can rest her palms specifically on the keyboard if she is drained.
The RollerMouse is distinctive in that it sits at the base of the keyboard and can be accessed with any finger and both hand. According to the nonprofit group North Dakota Assistive, “For persons with Parkinson’s, this mouse can strengthen balance and lessen unneeded movements because all required movement for the keyboard/mouse is central to the system as opposed to 6-12 inches absent.” They can be high priced, with rates upward of $100, but if interested, attempt checking with Medicare or your wellness coverage provider about protection.
Crafted-in accessibility attributes
There are commonly cost-free accessibility capabilities built into a computer’s operating process (each Home windows and Mac) that can assist a individual with PD improve their pace and accuracy.
I have adjusted these settings on Bev’s desktop computer system, which has a Home windows operating method.
I turned down the mouse speed placing, which assists Bev use her conventional mouse, as she does not have a RollerMouse. I also turned on FilterKeys so the personal computer will overlook recurring or short keystrokes, as Bev normally hits keys extra than after unintentionally.
In a 2017 posting revealed in Simple Neurology, authors issue out that for persons with PD and other persistent health problems, smart individual assistant (IPA) computer software can benefit men and women with PD or great motor worries by carrying out digital tasks for them. Examples of IPA software contain Apple’s Siri, Google Residence, Google Now, and Samsung’s S Voice.
Bev employs Siri at moments, but cognitive issues make it complicated for her to don’t forget which button to push to entry it, or she will push the property button way too hard with her stylus. Once again, I have penned down for her how to do this immediately after demonstrating and asking her to repeat it back again to me.
Other adaptive software package is also available. For case in point, SteadyMouse can enable clean the normal mouse cursor motion and lessen the outcomes of unsteady palms or tremor.
As caregivers, we have to have to be conscious of assistive technologies that can make lifetime less difficult for equally us and our loved one particular with PD. Try seeking the world wide web for “assistive technology” or some of the objects pointed out in this column.
When Bev experienced a normal pc keyboard, she said, “I wish I could just have an previous typewriter with even bigger keys that I can see.” Despite the fact that she nonetheless has issues, the larger keyboard, keyguard, and adjustments to her computer system configurations have enabled her to style additional successfully and with much less frustration.
Now, if she would only use voice dictation for text messaging as an alternative of typing with her stylus!
Note: Parkinson’s Information These days is strictly a news and data web page about the illness. It does not give medical suggestions, diagnosis or remedy. This material is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare assistance, diagnosis, or cure. Often seek the assistance of your medical professional or yet another certified health and fitness company with any inquiries you may have regarding a healthcare problem. Never disregard specialist professional medical information or delay in trying to get it for the reason that of anything you have go through on this website. The viewpoints expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Currently or its mum or dad company, BioNews, and are supposed to spark discussion about difficulties pertaining to Parkinson’s illness.