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Adapting Your Home for Multiple Sclerosis


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

Using the toilet

  • Use an elevated toilet seat and/or safety rails to assist standing and sitting. Do not use towel racks or bathroom tissue holders to help you stand.
  • Put extended lever handles on faucets to make them easier to turn.

General hygiene and self-care

  • Use hairbrushes and combs with built-up handles or handles with finger loops.
  • Use toothbrushes with built-up handles or use an electric toothbrush.

Eating and drinking

  • Rest your elbows on the table to provide more motion at your wrist and hand.
  • Sit with your knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle in a straight-back chair.
  • Use utensils with built-up, lightweight handles or use a "spork" -- a spoon and fork in one. Use a rocker knife for cutting food.
  • Use a nonskid mat (made out of a material called Dycem) to stabilize objects on the table.
  • Use a plate guard or plate with a raised lip to prevent food from spilling.
  • Use a long straw with a non-spill cup or use a plastic mug with a large handle.

Working in the kitchen

  • Have at least one counter workspace that has been lowered so that you can reach it from a sitting position.
  • Use a jar opener for tightly sealed containers.
  • Don't close jar lids or containers too tightly once they have been opened.
  • Use an extended lever to assist with lift-tab cans.
  • Use pans with a wide base that cannot be knocked over easily.
  • Use a food processor for vegetable cutting and peeling.
  • Use plastic containers to avoid breakage.
  • Use a nonskid mat to stabilize bowls and plates.
  • Store food and beverages (such as milk or juice) in small, easy-to-manage containers.
  • Place utensils, pots, pans, and measuring cups on a pegboard or in an accessible cupboard instead of in lower cupboards, which require bending. Sit when getting things out of lower cupboards.
  • Use a spike board to stabilize vegetables, fruit, and potatoes so you have both hands free to peel or chop them.
  • Use two hands to pour liquids.
  • Use scissors to open cellophane packages. Use a box top opener to open boxes.
  • Use electrical appliances whenever possible.


  • Use long handles on sponge mops, cleaning brushes, dustpans, brooms, or window washers.
  • Sit to fold laundry, wash dishes, iron clothes, use the sweeper, mop the floor, or plug in appliances at low outlets. Adapt counters so that you can reach them from your wheelchair or from a sitting position.


  • Call ahead to make sure the store has the item you need.
  • Call ahead to reserve a wheelchair or tri-wheel cart if you aren't planning to bring your own.
  • Call a taxi or ask a friend or family member to drive you.

Other useful tips

  • Always keep emergency numbers in an accessible location; consider having them preset on your phone.
  • Use telephones with oversized buttons.
  • To avoid slipping or tripping, remove throw rugs.
  • Make your environment as comfortable and sensory-pleasing as possible. Use soothing colors to decorate, use scented candles or potpourri in fragrances that relax you. Keep photos and music around that lift your spirit.
  • If you find you would like company during the day, consider a pet such as a bird, a fish, or a cat. If you are concerned about daily care, surround yourself with plants or flowers.
  • Make sure the temperature and climate in your home are suitable to your sensitivities. The more comfortable and uplifting your environment is, the more positive your attitude will be!

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