“Home is a shelter from storms – all sorts of storms.” – William J. Bennett
When we think about home, we should be able to envision images of relaxation, comfort, and safety. For someone living with multiple sclerosis, however, the home environment could actually be quite hazardous.
MS impacts millions of people all over the world and may cause dizziness, fatigue, and problems with walking, in addition to a number of other symptoms. Consequently, the chance of falls is elevated, and even performing everyday tasks can lead to injury.
Thankfully, there are some basic steps you can take to make the home less dangerous, more comfortable, and easier to navigate. As March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to help someone you love implement changes to boost safety and independence.
- Place furniture strategically to create wide walkways which can be accessed by a wheelchair, but also to provide secure objects for the individual to lean on when walking.
- Take away any throw rugs and other tripping hazards, such extension cords or clutter. Thin carpeting or hardwood flooring are best for someone with MS.
- Install rocker-style light switches, touch lamps, or voice-activated lights in place of traditional switches, which can be challenging for a person whose hand strength is compromised.
- Use contrasting colors to designate floors, steps, door frames, and walls.
- Make regularly-used items easy to access, at eye level to keep the individual from being forced to stoop down or reach up for them.
- Shop for kitchen tools that can assist with specific challenges – i.e., there are jar openers and other utensils which can be simpler to use for a person with numbness in the fingers or hands.
- Put a strong chair or stool with back support close to the counter to ensure the person can sit when preparing food.
- Modify the sink and other appliances as possible. As an example, moving the faucet to the side of the sink and using levers rather than knobs makes it easier to reach and use. Eliminating cabinets from below the sink permits a wheelchair to slide underneath. An open cooktop to replace a full stove will also create space underneath for a wheelchair.
- Put the person’s everyday hygiene supplies in a basket on a low, easily-accessible shelf.
- Adjust the height of towel bars as needed so towels are easier to reach.
- Install a shower chair, grab bars, and a raised toilet seat.
- Look for items that are packaged for easier access, such as body wash dispensed with a pump rather than squeeze bottles.
Home With You Senior Care, a top provider of home care in Pikesville and nearby communities, is also here to assist by offering an in-home safety appraisal 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 needed.
Contact us at 410-756-0959 for a free in-home assessment to learn about the countless ways we are able to increase home safety and improve life for someone with MS. Together, we can ensure home is the place of happiness and safety it should be!