Avoid falls, glare and balance problem
It used to be so simple to take a shower, walk down the hall or make a cup of coffee. But these ordinary tasks can seem like hurdles after a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. Making your home more MS-friendly can help you navigate more easily.
Learn your “reach zone.” Figure out your “reach zone”: If you’re standing, it’s between your knees and a few inches above your head. If you’re in a wheelchair, it’s between 15 and 51 inches from the ground. Keep everyday items—plates, cups, bowls, utensils—on one shelf in that zone that doesn’t make you bend or stoop. Put items you use once a year—Aunt Sadie’s crystal punch bowl, the snowflake-shaped cookie cutters—in a higher cabinet. Use hooks, hanging baskets and storage carts. Buy a stool for your kitchen so you can sit while cooking.
Give your bathroom a makeover. Using the toilet is much easier with a raised seat that fits over your regular one. Put a bench in your shower and use a handheld shower nozzle. Install grab bars in the shower, tub and near the toilet, even if you aren’t having severe problems. Balance trouble and weakness can crop up unexpectedly.
Do away with tripping hazards. Plush carpet sounds heavenly for tired feet, but it can actually make it easier to fall. Instead, choose smooth floors and get rid of throw rugs. Keep floors clear of anything that could get in the way.
Eliminate clutter. Simplify everything. Too many items on counters, tables and desks make it hard to find things. Clutter on the floor can create a tripping hazard. Place items you use most often, such as the TV remote or your phone, within easy reach.
Ease glare. MS can often affect your vision. Use nightlights to make the journey from a dark bedroom into a bright bathroom easier. Replace fluorescent lights with incandescent bulbs if they cause glare. Invest in blinds or anti-glare window treatments.