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Adapting Your Home for Multiple Sclerosis

Because daily activities -- including leisure activities -- can cause fatigue more quickly in people with multiple sclerosis, it's important to modify your activity levels. And, because MS can make moving around difficult, making certain changes to your home environment may help conserve energy and increase independence.

Home Equipment for Multiple Sclerosis

If you have multiple sclerosis, an occupational therapist or rehabilitation specialist can recommend a variety of devices that are designed to make home care and daily activities more comfortable. Some examples include:

  • Built-up utensils
  • Grab bars
  • Reacher devices
  • Electric beds or mattresses
  • Sliding boards
  • Wheelchairs

Along with appropriate medications, exercise, and other management techniques, this equipment can help you maintain a good quality of life. 

What Changes Can I Make in My Home for Multiple Sclerosis?

For those with multiple sclerosis, following is a list of the most common recommendations that can assist you in dressing, bathing, using the toilet, general hygiene and self-care activities, eating and drinking, working in the kitchen, cleaning, and shopping.

Not all of these recommendations may benefit your personal situation. Your occupational therapist or rehabilitation specialist can help determine which of these recommendations are best for you.

Dressing

  • Get dressed while sitting in a chair that has arm rests. This will help you keep your balance.
  • Roll from side to side to get pants over your hips. You can do this while sitting in a chair or lying down on your bed.
  • Wear clothes that are loose-fitting and have elastic waistbands.
  • Choose wrap-around clothing instead of the pull-over type. Also choose clothing that opens in the front, not the back.
  • Wear clothing with large, flat buttons or use Velcro closures.
  • Use a buttonhook to button clothing.
  • If you have shoulder weakness, use a dressing stick to get your coat or shirt on and off.
  • Use a zipper pull or attach a leather loop on the end of the zipper to zip pants or jackets.
  • Use devices such as a sock aid and a long-handled shoehorn for additional assistance.

Bathing

  • Install grab bars inside and outside the bathtub or shower.
  • Use a bathtub transfer bench or a shower chair with back support.
  • Put extended lever handles on faucets to make them easier to turn.
  • Put a nonskid mat in the bathtub.
  • Use a handheld hose for showering and bathing.
  • Use a long-handled sponge or scrubbing brush.
  • Use soap-on-a-rope, bath mitts, or sponges with soap inside, or a soft soap applicator instead of bar soap.
  • Use lukewarm water; very hot water can cause fatigue and aggravate your symptoms.
  • Sew straps on towels to make them easier to hold while drying.
  • Place a towel on the floor outside the tub to dry your feet so you don't slip.
  • Put a towel on the back of your chair and rub your back against it to dry. Or use a terry cloth robe instead of a towel to dry off.

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