Coping with staying with family

I wonder if anyone has advice on how to cope with an extended visit to family. My son has invited me to come stay with his family for a couple of months, including Christmas. This sound great but I don’t know how I will be able to cope with my Parkinsons in an unfamiliar environment.
Like most I have good days and bad but as I live alone I cope with the bad days by being a hermit and just waiting for the symptoms to subside and doing whatever jobs are possible to try to pas the time… I know it sound easy to explain this to my son and his wife but I can feel their anxiety and desire to help when I would rather be left alone. They claim to have read up on Parkinsons but I’m not sure if they are aware of the different effects.
I also have two grand-daughters aged 8 and 13 and wouldn’t want to f.righten them or embarrass them by my shuffling.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank You

Hello Cathiesmall

First thing to say is your hesitation is entirely understandable. I too am careful about who and where I go to stay simply because it’s not home where I know I can manage.

Second thing is to say it’s a lovely invitation ànd will give you a wonderful time and many shared memories to look back on when you return home.

Third thing to say is your son and his family may be ok with your Parkinson’s but clearly it is causing you some anxiety which will probably increase as the due date gets nearer - and that could mar your enjoyment.

I think in your shoes I would need to be upfront and honest so everyone knows where they stand. Obviously I don’t know anything about your son’s situation and it depends on practicalities and what you feel you can manage but I would write, phone, visit, video call if you are ‘technology happy’ to cover everything you are worried about. Of course you may already know some of the answers. The sorts of things I would want to check as the stay is for several weeks are in no particular order

  1. Accommodation bedroom/sitting room bathroom - you and the family may not want to be together 24/7 or they need to understand you need some time out now and again.
  2. Do they understand that your good and bad days just happen and bad days sometimes mean planned events have to be postponed or cancelled. Similarly if you’ve overdone it one day the next day you may need a quiet day.
  3. How are your and their routines different ie normal morning, evening, meal times etc I’m thinking you will be on holiday but the children will be going to school and son (and wife?) to work. As by the by how will you fill your day if all the family are out
  4. They should understand you will ask for help if you need it and not to worry if you are slow or look awkward. it probably won’t stop them keeping an eye on you but maybe they will sit on their hands
  5. What do the children know or understand about Parkinson’s? The Parkinson’s UK site has some good info on how to explain to children

I am sure there’s other concerns but off the top of my head that’s all I can think of.

Sort out your concerns before you go and have a wonderful time with your family.


I feel this too. Often it’s best to see what you want to do and then carefully explain that this is what you want.

Perhaps you could arrange to go for a shorter time, perhaps two weeks, and then decide to extend it if you find that is what you want.

I find it’s really important to stay in control, because this gives me the best outcome in terms of stress, which in turn affects my symptoms.

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that’s a good idea Lemon and I agree with what you say though I wouldn’t personally call it staying in control, to me it is more taking the lead but it amounts to the same thing however you choose to see it.

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Thanks for your kind replies. I have discussed more things with my son and we have agreed that if I really feel uncomfortable they will arrange an early flight home for me.
Having two events coming up - Thanksgiving and Christmas should make the time pass quicker but with the added worry of more company if having a bad day. I’m sure my son will make tte necessary explanations (I was going to say excuses).
Will let you know how it goes - wish me luck.

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you won’t need luck you’ll be fine and I am so pleased you are going. I have always found it easier when people know anyway avoids all the second guessing and now you have spoken to the family they will look out for you, It won’t stop you being a bit apprehensive probably but remember they want you to be with them and enjoy it.
Have a wonderful time.

Dear Tot
Just to let you know that so far things are working out ok. The kids have been fantastic in their understanding of cancelled or curtailed events and are happy to run up and down stairs for me. I don’t know how serious my son made out to other adults but all have been great, if not over solicitous .
Thank you - and others in the Forum for your positive thoughts

Cathiesmail that’s wonderful news thank you for letting us know. No need to say I hope you have a lovely Christmas and New Year because I know you will.
Enjoy it all, you will bring home a cart load of great memories, and well done to you for being brave enough to give it a go.

Hello Cathiesmail
Hope things are still going well for you.
Happy New Year to you and your family.

Happy New Year to you Tot and all those who cheerfully support Parkinson’s.

Never was brave enough before for a rollercoaster - but with Parkinsons you can do anything once

how fabulous is that. it’s been a wonderful success I am so pleased for you. I think you should write something on the Today is a good day thread you’ve achieved so much. you’ve quite made my day. Thank you.
PS your bye line is fabulous … with Parkinson’s you can do anything once. May I use it?

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Apologies couldn’t wait for your reply re using your bye line. When inspiration strikes… Have a look at my latest post in the creative corner


What a wonderful true life story. Just reading it makes me feel more optimistic. Love the photo. EM x


I can t remember ever reading any advice that you have given that has been anything but good. You do a great job on the forum.
Like the by line. Great poem on creative corner.

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What a lovely thing to say Ellemac. Thank you so much.

Wonderful, you have given me some thought now, I’m asking myself can I cope with an eight hour flight? Erm… thank you for sharingx

Hi. Cathie.
This is a dilemma isn’t it? I was becoming increasingly stressed about staying with my daughter and family - I hated my granddaughters seeing me struggling and fitting in with their routine wasn’t always easy. My husband and I have solved the problem by renting a holiday flat nearby…We are fortunate in that our daughter lives near Brighton where there is lots of accommodation available. We have found a perfect flat five minutes walk from our daughters.This way we can time our visits to when I normally feel ok but go back to our flat before I start to struggle. Much as we love being with the family it’s nice to be able to do our own thing. The owner of the flat has become a good friend and gives us a special rate !: I know this solution is not cheap but do have a look on the Airbnb website to see what is available near your family - you may be pleasantly surprised.
Best wishes

Hi Janet
That’s a great idea! I totally agree you need your own space when you feel off.