Text equivalent of “Parkinson’s Disease: Practical Workplace Adaptations”

Author: Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive movement disorder where symptoms become worse over time and can affect the ability to perform common daily activities. It is characterized by three motor symptoms:

  • Tremors
  • Stiffness or rigidity of the muscles
  • Slowness of movement

What is an Adaptation?

An adaptation is a large or small change made to the home and work environments. Adaptations can help you live and work independently for a longer period of time.

If it is becoming challenging to do everyday tasks, simple changes can prevent accidents and minimize injury.

Small Adaptations Include:

  • Remove or level threshold strips between doorways. Create half steps to make large steps smaller.
  • Install a second banister to a staircase/ladder.
  • Use thin non-slip rugs in common work areas.
  • Make sure your workbench, or any working space, is at an ergonomic level.
  • Switch faucets and doorknobs to ones that are easier to grasp.
  • Use raised chairs that are easier to get in and out of.
  • Declutter floors to make sure pathways are clear to walk through.

Large Adaptations Include:

  • Install ramps to eliminate the use of stairs.
  • Resurface the working space terrain to concrete or tar.
  • Add more lighting to low-lit areas.

Who should I go to for help?

It is always important to first talk to your doctor about the challenges and changes you encounter when
completing daily tasks. This enables a doctor to determine which services may be beneficial for you. A common referral to receive is a home or workplace assessment performed by an occupational therapist.

Additional Resources

American Parkinson’s Disease Association


  1. Employment with Parkinson’s disease: Working it out PDF. Parkinson’s Foundation. Retrieved from: https://www.parkinson.org/sites/default/files/attachments/Employment-With-.pdf
  2. American Parkinson’s Disease Association APDA. Parkinson’s Disease: What is it, and how does it affect those who’ve been diagnosed?, American Parkinson’s Disease Association. https://www.apdaparkinson.org/what-is-parkinsons/


[Logo: UMASH, Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center.]

UMASH is funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health cooperative agreement U54OH010170 (2011-2021)

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