Energy Conservation for Parkinson’s patients

Why is it that a decline in energy is common with the diagnosis of Parkinson’s?

                There are a variety of factors that can lead to an increase in fatigue with Parkinson’s, including: stress, muscle stiffness, impaired sleep, depression and even certain medications.  Parkinson’s symptoms create a decrease in efficiency of the body to move and function during regular activities making the body work harder than it would normally.

Ways to conserve energy:

1)      Schedule your day:

a. Plan out scheduled rest breaks

b. Plan your daily activities around important daily activities

i.      Ex- if you have a long day filled with doctors’ appointments, sit down during dressing and bathing in the morning to save your energy

2)      Sit when able:

a. Sit to groom

b. Sit to dress

c. Sit to bathe

d. Sit to complete simple meal preparation

3)      Use adaptive equipment:

a. Reachers to grab items too low or too high

b. Kitchen carts to decrease the amount you have to carry

c. Dressing aides: Button hooks, sock aids, elastic shoe laces and dressing sticks

d. Bathing: Long-handled sponge, shower chair and hand held shower head

e. Household work: use long-handled cleaning supplies (such as Swiffers or dust brushes)

4)      Ask for help and divide up household responsibilities to others that can help

Important Reminders: With implementation of energy conservation strategies, you can be safer and more productive with your daily activities.  Ask your Occupational Therapist for explanations or further suggestions of energy conservation strategies.

About the Author


Heather Simpson, OTR/L

Heather Simpson graduated with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science with a minor in Early Education from the University of Florida in 2007. Following…

Read all articles by Heather Simpson, OTR/L