“Home is a shelter from storms – all sorts of storms.” – William J. Bennett
When we think of home, we should be able to envision images of safety, comfort, and relaxation. For a loved one with multiple sclerosis, however, the home atmosphere may be quite dangerous.
MS impacts millions of people all over the world and can cause dizziness, fatigue, and problems with walking, along with a variety of other symptoms. Consequently, the risk for falls is increased, and even performing everyday tasks can result in injury.
Thankfully, there are some easy steps you can take to make the home less dangerous, 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 boost independence and safety.
- Place furniture strategically to create spacious paths that may be accessed by a wheelchair, but also to provide secure objects for the person to lean against when walking.
- Get rid of any throw rugs as well as other tripping hazards, such as electrical cords or clutter. Thin carpets or hardwood floors are best for someone with MS.
- Install voice-activated lights, touch lamps, or rocker-style light switches instead of traditional switches, which can be challenging for a person whose hand strength is compromised.
- Use contrasting colors to highlight floors, steps, door frames, and walls.
- Make commonly-used objects easy to access, at eye level to prevent the person from having to stoop down or reach up for them.
- Look for kitchen tools to address specific challenges – for example, there are jar openers and other gadgets which can be simpler to use for a person experiencing numbness in the fingers or hands.
- Place a strong chair or stool with back support near the counter to ensure the person can sit to prepare food.
- Modify the sink and other appliances as feasible. For instance, moving the faucet to the side of the sink and installing levers instead of knobs makes it easier to reach and use. Removing cabinets from below the sink allows for a wheelchair to slide underneath. An open cooktop in place of a full stove will also create space underneath for a wheelchair.
- Place the person’s regularly used hygiene products 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 items that are packaged for easier access, such as body wash dispensed with a pump instead of squeeze bottles.
Abby Senior Care, a trusted provider of home care and companion care in the Denver, CO area, is also here to offer support by conducting an in-home safety assessment in addition to providing hands-on care. We partner with those we serve, fostering as much independence as possible while providing support with tasks where required.
Call us at 303-699-8840 for a complimentary in-home consultation to learn more about the countless ways we are able to help to improve life for a person with multiple sclerosis. Together, we can make sure home is the place of relaxation and safety it should be!