“Home is a shelter from storms – all sorts of storms.” – William J. Bennett
When we think about home, we should be able to conjure up images of safety, comfort, and relaxation. For someone with multiple sclerosis, however, the home environment may be downright dangerous.
MS impacts millions of people globally and can cause dizziness, fatigue, and difficulty with walking, alongside a variety of other symptoms. Consequently, the chance of falls is increased, and even performing everyday tasks may cause injury.
Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to make the home safer, more comfortable, and much easier to get around. As March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, it is a great time to help a loved one implement changes to boost safety and independence.
- Place furniture strategically to create wide paths that may be accessed by a wheelchair, but also to provide stable objects for the individual to lean on when walking.
- Remove any throw rugs and other tripping hazards, such as extension cords or clutter. Thin carpets or hardwood floors are best for someone with MS.
- Add voice-activated lights, touch lamps, or rocker-style light switches instead of traditional switches, which can be challenging for someone whose hand strength is compromised.
- Use contrasting colors to accentuate walls, doorframes, floors, and steps.
- Make regularly-used items easily accessible, at eye level in order to prevent the person from needing to bend down or reach up for them.
- Look for kitchen tools to address specific challenges – i.e., there are jar openers and other utensils which can be easier to use for a person with numbness in the fingers or hands.
- Put a secure chair or stool with back support near the counter so the person can sit when preparing food.
- Modify the sink and other appliances when possible. As an example, moving the faucet to the side of the sink and installing levers rather than knobs makes it much simpler to use. Removing cabinets from beneath the sink enables a wheelchair to slide underneath. An open cooktop in place of a full stove will also allow for space beneath for a wheelchair.
- Place the person’s daily hygiene supplies in a basket on a low, easily-accessible shelf.
- Modify the height of towel bars as needed so towels are easier to reach.
- Add grab bars, a shower chair, and an elevated toilet seat.
- Look for products that are packaged for easier access, such as body wash dispensed with a pump instead of squeeze bottles.
Live Free Home Health Care, a trusted provider of senior care in Concord, NH and the surrounding communities, is also here to assist by performing an in-home safety assessment as well as providing hands-on care. We work closely with those we serve, fostering as much independence as possible while providing support with tasks where necessary.
Call us at 603-217-0149 for a free in-home consultation to find out about the numerous ways home care helps improve life with MS. Together, we can make sure home is the place of happiness and security it should be!