“Home is a shelter from storms – all sorts of storms.” – William J. Bennett
When we think of home, we should be able to conjure up images of comfort, safety, and relaxation. For someone with multiple sclerosis, however, the home setting is sometimes actually quite hazardous.
MS affects millions of people worldwide and can cause dizziness, fatigue, and difficulties with walking, along with a number of other symptoms. This means that the risk for falls is elevated, and even performing daily tasks can lead to injury.
When caring for multiple sclerosis at home, there are, thankfully, some simple steps you can take to make the home safer, more comfortable, and simpler to navigate. As March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to help someone you love implement changes to enhance independence and safety.
- Place furniture strategically to allow for spacious walkways that can be accessed by a wheelchair, but also to provide secure objects for the person to lean on when walking.
- Get rid of any throw rugs and other tripping hazards, such as extension cords or clutter. Thin carpeting or hardwood floors are best for an individual with MS.
- Add rocker-style light switches, touch lamps, or voice-activated lights in place of traditional switches, which can be challenging for someone whose hand strength has diminished.
- Use contrasting colors to accentuate floors, steps, door frames, and walls.
- Make commonly-used objects easy to reach, at eye level to help the individual avoid having to bend down or reach up for them.
- Shop for kitchen tools to address specific challenges – for instance, there are jar openers and other gadgets which are much easier to use for someone with numbness in the fingers or hands.
- Place a strong chair or stool with back support close to the counter so the person can sit to prepare food.
- Modify the sink and other appliances as feasible. For instance, moving the faucet to the side of the sink and installing levers in place of knobs makes it easier to reach and use. Eliminating cabinets from underneath the sink permits a wheelchair to slide underneath. An open cooktop to replace a full stove will also allow for space beneath for a wheelchair.
- Put the person’s everyday hygiene items in a basket on a low, easily-accessible shelf.
- Change the height of towel bars as needed so towels are within easy reach.
- Add a shower chair, grab bars, and a raised toilet seat.
- Look for products that are packaged for easier access, such as body wash dispensed with a pump instead of bars of soap.
Morning Glory Home Care’s Highland home care experts are also here to help by offering an in-home safety appraisal in addition to providing hands-on care. We work closely with those we serve, promoting as much independence as possible while offering support with tasks where necessary.
Call us today at 618-667-8400 for a free in-home consultation to learn more about the many ways we can help to improve life for a loved one with multiple sclerosis. Together, we can ensure home is the place of joy and safety it should be! Visit our Service Area page to see a full list of the communities we serve.