“Home is a shelter from storms – all sorts of storms.” – William J. Bennett
When we think about home, we should be able to envision images of comfort, safety, and relaxation. For a loved one with multiple sclerosis, however, the home atmosphere can be quite hazardous.
MS affects millions of people worldwide and can cause dizziness, fatigue, and difficulties with walking, in addition to a variety of other symptoms. This means that the risk for falls is elevated, and even everyday tasks may cause injury.
Thankfully, there are some easy steps you can take to increase home safety for people with MS. As March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, it’s a great time to help a loved one implement changes to boost independence and safety.
- Position furniture strategically to allow for spacious walkways which can be accessed by a wheelchair, but also to provide stable objects for the individual to lean upon 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 an individual with MS.
- Install voice-activated lights, touch lamps, or rocker-style light switches in place of traditional switches, which are often challenging for someone whose hand strength is compromised.
- Use contrasting colors to accentuate floors, steps, doorframes, and walls.
- Make commonly-used objects easy to access, at eye level to avoid the person from having to bend down or reach up for them.
- Try to find kitchen tools to address specific challenges – for instance, there are jar openers and other utensils which can be better to use for someone with numbness in the fingers or hands.
- Place a secure chair or stool with back support close to the counter so that 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 versus knobs makes it easier to use. Removing cabinets from underneath the sink permits a wheelchair to slide underneath. An open cooktop to replace a full stove will also create space underneath for a wheelchair.
- Place the person’s daily 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 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 bars of soap.
Inspired Home Care, a dedicated provider of in-home care in Algonquin, IL and the surrounding areas, is also here to assist by conducting an in-home safety assessment as well as delivering hands-on care. We work closely with those we serve, fostering as much independence as possible while providing support with tasks where necessary.
Give us a call at 847-787-7572 for a free in-home consultation to learn more about the many ways we can help to improve life for a person with multiple sclerosis. Together, we can guarantee home is the place of happiness and security it should be!