Living With Multiple Sclerosis: Four Ways To Modify Your Home

Posted on: 5 October 2016


Multiple sclerosis can affect your mobility, coordination, balance and your ability to handle daily living functions on your own. While symptoms may be mild at first, they can become more pronounced over time. Adapting your home to make daily living easier can help you to maintain your sense of independence. There are many different things you can do to improve your house or apartment to make it more comfortable for you as you learn to live with MS.

Overcome Stair Obstacles

Stairs may become difficult to negotiate over time, so consider moving items you need every day, such as clothing and personal toiletry items, to the first floor. If your bedroom is on the second floor of your home, consider turning a room on the first floor into a bedroom. For homes with all of the bedrooms and bathrooms on the second floor, you may want to consider investing in a stairlift. These are chairs that glide on a rail along your staircase, moving you from one floor to the other. Stairlifts essentially serve the purpose of an elevator without the major renovations that would be needed to install an elevator in your home. Be sure to look for a model with a seat belt or harness to keep you secure as you move from one floor to another. If your home has both a second floor and a basement, you may want to consider adding a stairlift to both staircases.

Install Stylish Grab Bars 

Adapting your home doesn't mean you have to make it look like a hospital or nursing home. You can have attractive wooden grab bars or railings installed throughout your home to help you walk from room to room. Work with a contractor to find sturdy wood railing options, and be sure he or she knows the railings will need to be secure enough to hold your weight as you steady yourself on them. Grab bars should be installed in hallways, bathrooms and even along the walls in your bedroom to support your ability to move freely throughout your home.

Re-Think Your Floor Coverings

Carpeting can be difficult to move a walker or wheelchair across, particularly if the carpet pile is high. Consider switching to hardwood or tile flooring for better mobility. If you don't want to part with carpet, consider having indoor/outdoor carpeting with a low pile height installed. If you use area rugs in your home, consider adding a nonstick backing to the bottom of the rugs to prevent them from bunching up, which can cause a tripping hazard.

Make Your Main Living Area Convenient

Whether you spend the bulk of your day in your living room or bedroom, consider placing the items you need throughout the day in your main living area. Keep a small mini-fridge next to your bed or armchair so you don't have to go to the kitchen for a snack or beverage. Keep a cordless telephone on a table next to you, and hang a remote control holder on your bed or chair to provide access to remotes and personal electronics. These steps will prevent you from having to walk on days when you feel weak or dizzy.

Look at the way your home is currently laid out, and consider the different areas of the home that are most difficult for you to get to and from. Once you've identified your problem areas, work with your family and a contractor to make the changes you need to stay independent while living with MS.