“Home is a shelter from storms – all sorts of storms.” – William J. Bennett
Whenever we think about home, we should be able to conjure up visions of comfort, safety, and relaxation. For a person with multiple sclerosis, however, the home atmosphere is sometimes downright dangerous.
MS affects millions of people all over the world and can cause dizziness, fatigue, and difficulty with walking, in addition to a number of other symptoms. This means that the chance of falls is elevated, and even performing everyday tasks can result in injury.
Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to make the home safer, more comfortable, and simpler to get around. As March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to help a loved one implement changes to improve independence and safety.
- Position furniture strategically to create spacious walkways that can be accessed by a wheelchair, but also to provide secure objects for the individual to lean on when walking.
- Eliminate any throw rugs and other tripping hazards, including electrical cords or clutter. Thin carpets or hardwood floors are best for somebody with MS.
- Install rocker-style light switches, touch lamps, or voice-activated lights rather than traditional switches, which are often challenging for someone whose hand strength has diminished.
- Use contrasting colors to designate door frames, steps, floors, and walls.
- Make commonly-used items easily accessible, at eye level to keep the individual from having to bend down or reach up for them.
- Search for kitchen tools to address specific challenges – for example, there are jar openers and other utensils that are better to use for someone experiencing numbness in the fingers or hands.
- Put 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 if possible. For example, moving the faucet to the side of the sink and using levers as opposed to knobs makes it easier to 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 regularly-used hygiene supplies in a basket on a low, easily-accessible shelf.
- Change the height of towel bars as needed so towels are easier to reach.
- Add a shower chair, grab bars, and an elevated toilet seat.
- Look for products that are packaged for easier access, such as body wash dispensed with a pump instead of bar soap.
At-Home Care Company, a trusted provider of elderly care in Des Moines, IA and surrounding communities, is also here to help by conducting an in-home safety assessment in addition to delivering hands-on care. We work closely with those we serve, promoting as much independence as possible while offering assistance with tasks where required.
Call us at 515-292-2650 for a free in-home assessment to find out about the countless ways we are able to help to improve life for someone with multiple sclerosis. Together, we can make sure home is the place of relaxation and safety it should be!