“Home is a shelter from storms – all sorts of storms.” – William J. Bennett
Whenever we think of home, we should be able to envision thoughts of safety, comfort, and relaxation. For someone with multiple sclerosis, however, the home environment can be downright hazardous.
Millions of people worldwide are living with MS, and the disease can cause dizziness, fatigue, and problems with walking, along with a host of other symptoms. As a result, the chance of falls is increased, and even carrying out everyday tasks can cause injury.
Thankfully, there are some easy steps you can take to make the home less dangerous, more comfortable, and simpler to navigate. As March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, it is a great time to help a loved one implement changes to enhance safety and independence.
Absolute Companion Care has compiled room-by-room modification ideas for you below:
- Place furniture strategically to allow for wide walkways that can be accessed by a wheelchair, but also to provide stable objects for the person to lean against when walking.
- Get rid of any throw rugs as well as other tripping hazards, such as extension cords or clutter. Thin carpets or hardwood flooring are best for an individual with MS.
- Add voice-activated lights, touch lamps, or rocker-style light switches instead of traditional switches, which can be challenging for someone whose hand strength is compromised.
- Use contrasting colors to accentuate floors, steps, doorframes, and walls.
- Make often-used items easy to reach, at eye level to help the individual avoid needing to stoop down or reach up for them.
- Try to find kitchen tools to address specific challenges – i.e., there are jar openers and other utensils that are simpler to use for someone with numbness in the fingers or hands.
- Place a secure chair or stool with back support near the counter to ensure the person can sit to prep food.
- Modify the sink and other appliances as possible. For example, moving the faucet to the side of the sink and using levers in place of knobs makes it much simpler 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 provide space beneath for a wheelchair.
- Put the person’s regularly-used hygiene items in a basket on a low, easily-accessible shelf.
- Change 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 products that are packaged for easier access, such as body wash dispensed with a pump instead of squeeze bottles.
Absolute Companion Care, an award-winning provider of personal home care in Baltimore, MD and the surrounding areas, is also here to help by providing an in-home safety appraisal in addition to delivering hands-on care. We partner with those we serve, promoting as much independence as possible while providing support with tasks where required.
Call us at 410-357-9640 for a cost-free in-home consultation to learn more about the many 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 security it should be!