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Get Rid of Clutter

Multiple sclerosis can sap your energy and make you feel really tired. Keeping things orderly can help. Less stuff to clean means less work for you around the house. And if you have trouble seeing, de-cluttering can also make it easier to keep track of important things.  

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Use Delivery or Pickup Services

Fatigue can make it tough to get out and shop for the things you need. More and more places are offering to bring them to your home or your car. That can make a big difference. If you order food from a restaurant, you might want to get a couple of meals. That way, you can use the leftovers later.

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Plan ‘Laundry Week’

When you feel tired all the time, even ordinary chores like laundry can seem daunting. As with any big project, it can be a good idea to spread the loads over the week instead than trying to get them all done in one “laundry day.” And taking clothes that can wrinkle out of the dryer as soon as they're done can save you from having to iron them.

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Wheels Are Your Friends

Carrying heavy things around the house can take a toll quickly when you’re tired. So let a rolling cart do the work. If something is too bulky to fit on a cart, try to slide it along instead of lifting it. If neither is possible, ask a friend or family member to help you.

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Keep Common Items Handy

It’s important to be able to get to the things you use often. So it’s a good idea to keep them somewhere between knee level and a couple of inches above your head. If you’re in a wheelchair, they should be between 15 and 52 inches off the floor. You can use things like hooks, hanging baskets, or lazy Susans to keep your go-to items organized and within reach.

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Save Passwords

Many people with MS have some form of memory loss. That can make online activities a challenge. But apps are available to help you keep track of your passwords while making sure they’re secure. A lot of the same apps can auto-fill your login information to speed things along.

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Use Shower Aids

If numbness or weakness in your arms or legs makes bathing difficult, inexpensive things like a washcloth mitt or soap-on-a-rope can help. If you need more assistance, consider a handheld shower wand, shower chair, or a transfer seat to make getting to and from your washing place easier. That way, you don’t have to bend or reach.

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photo of man holding coffee mug
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There's Mealtime Help Available

Numbness or weakness can affect how you eat, too. But a few simple things can help. Weighted utensils with large handles and nonskid plates and bowls can give you more control. Cups with large handles or spouts can make drinking easier. When dining out, ask the kitchen staff to cut your meat into bite-size pieces before they serve it.

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Consider Adaptive Clothing

Like bathing and eating, getting dressed can be a challenge when you have MS. But some small changes can make a big difference. For example, you can get pants with an elastic waistband rather than a drawstring. Replacing buttons with fabric fasteners, magnetic fasteners, or hooks can help, too. If zippers are tough for you to grasp, add a tab or a loop. Front-fastening bras or ones that go on over your head are also good options.

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Use Personal-Care Tools

Independence in the bathroom can be a concern if you have a tough time with fine motor skills. A few things can help. You can place a portable bidet bowl over your toilet seat and fill it with warm water to make cleaning up easier. If your reach is limited, long-handled bottom wipers can work. If you have trouble flushing your toilet, wider and flatter handles are available to give you a better grip.

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Stay in Touch

If you have trouble with your voice or speech because of your MS, technology can help you communicate with family, friends, and your medical team. There are simple devices that can make your voice louder. You can also get systems that let you type what you need to say, or select pictures or icons that will play audio messages.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 12/10/2020 Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on December 10, 2020


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National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “At Home With MS: Adapting Your Environment,” “A Resource For Healthcare Professionals Assistive Technology & Augmentative/Alternative Communication For People With MS,” “Caring For Loved Ones With Advanced MS: A Guide For Families.”

Ochsner Health: “Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Life Hacks.”

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America: “Coping With Fatigue.”

Disabled Living Foundation: “Choosing Eating and Drinking Equipment,” “Choosing Clothing and Dressing Equipment,” “Choosing Toilet Equipment and Accessories.”

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on December 10, 2020

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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