“Home is a shelter from storms – all sorts of storms.” – William J. Bennett
Whenever we think of home, we should be able to picture comfort, safety, and relaxation. For someone with multiple sclerosis, however, the home atmosphere may be downright dangerous.
MS impacts millions of people globally and can cause dizziness, fatigue, and problems with walking, along with a host of other symptoms. This means that the chance of falls is increased, and even performing daily tasks can cause injury.
Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to make the home less dangerous, more comfortable, and much easier to navigate. As March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to help a loved one implement changes to improve independence and safety.
- Place furniture strategically to create spacious walkways that may be accessed by a wheelchair, but also to provide secure objects for the individual to lean against when walking.
- Eliminate any throw rugs and other slipping hazards, including extension cords or clutter. Thin carpeting or hardwood floors are best for somebody with MS.
- Add voice-activated lights, touch lamps, or rocker-style light switches as opposed to traditional switches, which can be challenging for a person whose hand strength is compromised.
- Use contrasting colors to designate floors, steps, doorframes, and walls.
- Make often-used items easy to access, at eye level to keep the person from being forced 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 utensils which are 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 that the person can sit when preparing food.
- Modify the sink and other appliances when possible. For instance, moving the faucet to the side of the sink and installing levers versus knobs makes it easier to reach and use. Removing cabinets from under the sink permits a wheelchair to slide beneath. An open cooktop to replace a full stove will also allow for space underneath for a wheelchair.
- Put the person’s daily hygiene supplies in a basket on a low, easily-accessible shelf.
- Adjust 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 bar soap.
Compassionate Nursing Services, an award-winning provider of home care solutions in St. Louis and nearby areas, is also here to offer support by providing an in-home safety assessment as well as delivering hands-on care. We partner with those we serve, promoting as much independence as possible while providing assistance with tasks where necessary.
Need help in understanding multiple sclerosis and how home care can provide support? Contact us at 314-432-4312 for a free in-home assessment to find out about the numerous ways we are able to help to improve life for a person with multiple sclerosis. Together, we can ensure home is the place of enjoyment and safety it should be!