“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 thoughts of relaxation, comfort, and safety. For a loved one with multiple sclerosis, however, the home environment is sometimes actually quite hazardous.
MS impacts millions of people worldwide and may cause dizziness, fatigue, and issues with walking, along with a variety of other symptoms. Because of this, the chance of falls is elevated, and in many cases carrying out daily tasks can lead to injury.
Thankfully, there are some easy steps you can take to make caring for MS at home safer and more comfortable. As March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, it is a great time to help someone you love implement changes to enhance independence and safety.
- Place furniture strategically to create wide paths which can be accessed by a wheelchair, but also to provide stable objects for the individual to lean against when walking.
- Get rid of any throw rugs and other tripping hazards, including electrical cords or clutter. Thin carpets or hardwood flooring are best for someone with MS.
- Add voice-activated lights, touch lamps, or rocker-style light switches instead of traditional switches, which are often challenging for a person whose hand strength has diminished.
- Use contrasting colors to point out floors, steps, door frames, and walls.
- Make commonly-used items easy to access, at eye level to help the person avoid the need to stoop down or reach up for them.
- Shop for kitchen tools that can assist with specific challenges – for example, there are jar openers and other gadgets which are simpler to use for someone experiencing numbness in the fingers or hands.
- Place a secure chair or stool with back support close to the counter so the person can sit to cook or make food.
- Modify the sink and other appliances as feasible. For example, moving the faucet to the side of the sink and installing levers instead of knobs makes it easier to use. Removing cabinets from under the sink permits a wheelchair to slide underneath. An open cooktop in place of a full stove will also create space underneath for a wheelchair.
- Put the person’s daily 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 grab bars, a shower chair, 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.
Hearts at Home In-Home Care, a trusted provider of home care assistance in Overland Park, KS and surrounding communities, is also here to help by providing an in-home safety evaluation as well as hands-on care. We work closely with those we serve, promoting as much independence as possible while offering assistance with tasks where required.
Contact us at 913-440-4209 for a no-cost in-home consultation to find out about the countless ways we can improve life for a person with multiple sclerosis. Together, we can make sure home is the place of enjoyment and security it should be!