How to Make Your Home Safe When You Have MS

If you have MS, a few adjustments to your home can help you finish tasks safely and easily. Here's a room-by-room guide:

Entryway

Get a portable ramp that goes over the threshold of your front doorway so you don't have to go up steps. You can also buy a keyless entry lock and electric door opener. They open the door for you when you press a keypad or remote control.

Inside your house, replace doorknobs with lever-style handles. They're easier to turn.

Kitchen

Save your energy when preparing food. Use stools or chairs that are high enough to let you sit at your countertop while you cook or use the sink. You can reduce your meal prep time by using a food processor, blender, or microwave oven.

Look for kitchen aids that make preparing meals easier and safer. Get non-skid mats for counters so your bowls and cutting board won't slide around. You can also buy lightweight cookware that's easy to pick up and carry from the stove to the counter.

These tools can also help with meal prep:

  • Utensils with easy-grip handles
  • Grabbers to help you reach items on high shelves
  • Electric can opener
  • Rocker knives to help you cut food with less effort

Living Room

To make your lounging area comfy and safe, get raised chair or lift cushions. They can help you get in and out of your seat more easily.

Avoid throw rugs because they can add to your risk of falling. If you do get them, make sure they are non-skid.

Use extension cords that let you plug in lamps and gadgets without reaching for the outlet, but make sure they're not in the path where you walk.

Hallways and Stairs

Find ways to save your energy when you move to another area of your home:

  • Put handrails on both sides of the stairs.
  • Get a stair lift if you can't get up and down stairs on your own.
  • Install night lights with motion sensors along stairs, hallways, and throughout your home.

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Bedroom

A gadget called an ECU (environmental control unit) lets you adjust the heat or air-conditioning with the push of a button. You can also use it to turn on the lights and open and close the drapes.

Some other equipment to consider:

  • A bed that raises and lowers by pushing a button
  • Button and zipper hooks, a long-handle shoehorn, and sock aids to help you put on and fasten clothing
  • A bedside commode so you don't have to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night

Bathroom

Some simple adjustments can make washing up easier and safer. Look for combs and toothbrushes with easy-grip handles. Also install equipment such as:

  • Lever faucet handles that are simple to turn
  • Tub bench or shower chair so you can sit while you wash
  • Handheld shower head that reaches down to you
  • Non-skid surfaces in the shower or tub to prevent falls

Consider making these changes to your toilet:

  • A raised or adjustable toilet seat
  • A bidet toilet attachment to help you get clean after you use the toilet
  • "Bottom Buddy" tool that holds the toilet paper while you wipe and releases it into the toilet after you finish
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on January 13, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

Cleveland Clinic: "Multiple Sclerosis: Preventing Falls."

Multiple Sclerosis Alliance of Southern Colorado: "Environmental Adaptation Considerations."

Multiple Sclerosis Foundation: "The Accessible Home: 10 Tips for Coming and Going."

Multiple Sclerosis Society UK: "Home Adaptations."

National MS Society: "Assistance for Adaptive Equipment," "At Home with MS: Adapting Your Environment," "Increasing Accessibility."

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