Going shopping with Parkinson's...what do you do?


Hi all,

I'm looking for hints and tips about going shopping when you have Parkinson's for an article I'm writing for The Parkinson (our membership magazine). 

What makes shopping easier for you? What would you recommend others do?

Over to you....



My OH has Parkinson`s and is in a wheel chair.  When he needs new clothes he wears clothes that are easy to get off.  We do either top half or bottom half.  Collect all the possible clothes for that part and take them all into the changing room so that he only has to undress once.  If necessary we have a refreshment break before looking for things for the other half.

We have a local out-of-town Marks and Spencer.  They are extremely understanding about how much we take into the changing cubicle and how long we take there.  The cubicles are a very good size and we find there are enough handrails etc.



I live near a large supermarket, easy walking distance, but carrying shopping any distance is a problem. Yes I could order online and have it delivered but I like choosing my own fresh fruit and veg, meat etc. I have a shopping trolley, but there is nowhere convenient to leave it while I shop, and I can't co-ordinate pushing the shop's loaded trolley and pulling my own empty one. Wherever I try to leave it, it is in someone's way. There needs to be a space, close to the tills, so that I do not delay people fetching it.Shop assistants are usually very kind and helpful, it is other shoppers who make one feel bad.


Get someone to do the food shopping for you!  Kind of joking, but doing a weekly shop is impossible for me now.  This is mostly due to pain from wear and tear of having PD for a long time, so I try to shop on a daily basis or ask my husband to do it for me. Carrying baskets or pushing trollies isn't very good for my back. For clothes, I only consider trying things on if the changing rooms are quiet and spacious and there are staff available to help.


Hi everyone, thank you so much for responding to my post, I really appreciate you taking the time!


My parents found a short walk to Iceland so helpful to buy their shopping, then if they spent over £25, their shopping was delivered. This was a great help when Dad's Parkinson's stopped him driving. When Dad got really bad Mum would wait for the carer to come then go shopping on her own. It was good because it gave her some time on her own and she went out to do something she enjoyed ... shopping!smile



Earlier in my fight against the damn disease, I was able to go shopping without aid, simply by using shelves etc for balance, then I had no choice but to graduate to a walking stick, then a 3 wheel 'walker' - all due to increasing lack of balance and freezing in the aisles.
Then ,for the last two years or so, I have only been able to manage the little corner shop, and I have slept in many supermarket car parks whilst the 'boss' does the shopping - until recently, when I acquired a mobility scooter and now "just try & stop me!
So, I thoroughly recommend getting a small, transportable mobility scooter or using ShopMobility.
Mike 700



Some more great insights, thanks!


I should imagine I'm too late to be any help to Karen but reading other people's problems brings my difficulties to the fore.

I take a walking stick with me when I go out but if I want to buy anything, it really gets in the way.  Sometimes I leave it in the shop and have to go back but I'm always hitting things with it.

I find I have to slow down the whole process of shopping otherwise I get very muddled but I won't leave the shop until I've put my money away etc. and I can be standing for ages sorting myself out but most people are kind and ask if I need any help.


All the best  -  Casie 


Supermarket shopping is a true nightmare. No-one allows me time to pack my shopping or to get my credit card out of my purse.

I end up completely stressed out and frustrated with the general public's assumption that everyone is fit and able to whiz through the aisles and race out of the tills.  Some of us find it quite challenging.

I shop online as much as possible to avoid the aggravation of the weekly shop.


Not too late all! Thanks for responding. It's been really positive to hear both on the forum and on our Facebook page, how people are generally very understanding. Lots of people have advocated online shopping too. 

This thread was sparked by a letter we received from a gentleman with Parkinson's, sharing his tips he had for shopping. I really liked his tip: "Never rush at the till - this is yours while still being served. If people behind you have to wait a little, so be it!"


I order online or go with husband as trolley becomes far to heavy to push and it becomes far too stressful at the checkout with people huffing puffing. I'm 38 and on the outside I just come across like I'm clumsy and can't be bothered - well to the people behind me I do. I often wanted to just scream I have Parkinsons - but should I have to declare my soul ... It would be lovely if others slowed down and realised that they don't know the background to everyone's lives. Sorry rant over! Xx


I used to shop at a well known hypermarket and saw this as an opportunity to educate the ignorant masses. 

Most of the checkout staff still fancied me and would engage me with a warm smile, and we would warm-smile at one another as she packed my bags, without asking, at the end she'd help me push my card all the way in and request I enter my number while she momentarily feigned disinterest.  She would then suggest I take my card, hand my the receipt, that awkward moment when our hands touched. She'd then,invariably,spot my ring or something. The smile would slip, perchance she spotted my grimace as I wondered at all the other patron who's hands she had touched that shift, my stomach churning, beads of sweat upon my brow and d I'd scream " which bag has them dettol and the alcohol fuelled wipes?".    

The rest of the.staff, they were the ones I was after. I catch there eye in my peripheral vision that blind panic, even better if someone was in front, the bigger the trolley the better. I'd join the queue and watch panic turn to resignation, turn to "why me?" despair.  Inside I'd be laughing. Monies paid. Next stage the standoff. Eight items in "bagging area", no offer of help, eventually, as the queue grows, "would you like a bag?", I reply, "do I look like a freaking octopus?"

"bada-bing, in your face misses"

i go to stride away, doesn't always work, my day made. She's left with a pussin' face tripping itself. All of her own making.

the end ...

I storm back in, grab my bags and leave.

the end.


I try to shop online , but when I do shop at the supermarket, I make sure all my things are packed away before I pay , so that the cashier can not start serving the next customer before I have finished packing. Another thing that annoys me is that the cashier always gives you your change notes first ,coins on top, onto the palm of your hand . You are holding your purse in your other hand, how on earth do you get this into your purse without dropping some of it ! 



Not exactly shopping but i bought a product!!

I am not getting out of the house much these days, i feel i am on a bit of slide health wise with fatigue among other things and i feel uncomftable being out interacting with people i know let alone those i don't who don't know current event's in my life, my tremor being visible too other's or how i appear or walk.

My hair had grown long, dry and felt dead in places  matted together , so after months i thought i'd venture into town for the second time in  a year and have a haircut,i hope it's not a crime to have a hair cut making me look well when i'm not especially at a a-tos asssessment, i went early too avoid the crowds of a small market town and my local barber.

I was next too have my haircut, and then my turn arrived..

'what will it be ?? hmm' .. grade 1 all over please as i sat in the chair.

she got the clippers out and proceeded with my hair.

then she said 'lean back please', which i did, and then she said it again.

I'm Sorry i said but it's my posture, and i don't feel well.

What's wrong with you she said ??

Do you ever get the feeling you have too explain your self in ever inter action you have with anyone?.

I proceeded too tell her i'd been under investigation for PD for the past year.

She never said another word and she hurriedly cut my hair in record time in less than 2 mins.




Angel - I agree about struggling with your change,  I find this the most difficult part of shopping.  I find myself coming away from the counter still grasping purse in one hand and change and receipt in the other. I usually try to find a quiet corner where I can sort it out, but I feel a bit unsafe as I am an easy target in case any undesirable person decides to snatch it.


Hi sea angler

I've just bought one of the badges--- I have Parkinsons please give me time. I ordered it after a trip to London when I couldn't get a seat on the train home. I haven't worn it yet. I'm meeting with some friends on Wednesday, I'll wear it then and see how things go. I have put the sign on the door --- great news, it seems to put off double glazing pests!


At a local far foods, I was leaving with mrs eck, she had the bags cos, inspiite my DBS my walking and balance can still be a bit pants. Anyway I was going through one of the two double doors, I momentarily leaned against the other door, which to my horror wasn't locked. I fell on my face.  So my question, do I have a claim?


Totally agree about people giving you time at tills , i use the self pay tills at my local supermarket  and i tend to find people can be a bit impatient i was struggling to get my debit card out of my purse to pay and it took me a little longer than normal then i was packing my shopping someone came and put there shopping on the self pay till and started tutting because it was taking me so long


sea angler

i have a mobile hairdresser come out to my house , she is very good knows i have pd and totally understands the problems i have  it was a good solution for me