Helpful Home Adjustments for MS

  • Make Your Home MS-Friendly
    Multiple sclerosis (MS) can affect almost everything you do at home, from cooking and bathing to sitting and walking. But a few changes around the house can make living with MS much easier, safer, and more comfortable. You'll feel more at home in your personal space—and in control of your own well-being.

  • Start from the Floor and Go Up
    If you have trouble getting around because of MS, walking or wheeling on carpet may be difficult. Smooth, nonskid flooring is a better choice. If you do have carpet, secure it well. Remove loose rugs and mats before they trip you up.

  • Convenience in the Kitchen
    Store food, cookware, and dishes within easy arm's reach—between knee-height and the top of your head. Keep this in mind when choosing appliances, too. For example, a side-by-side refrigerator lets you keep both freezer and fridge items at a convenient height. A front-control stove means you don't have to reach over hot pans. Another tip: Save steps by dedicating a nearby cabinet for those items you use most frequently.

  • Handy Cooking Tools
    When MS makes it difficult to chop vegetables or lift heavy pots, adaptive cooking tools can come to the rescue. Examples include rocker-style knives, lightweight cookware, and easy-to-grip utensils. Not sure what's available? Check out AbleData's huge database of adaptive products, including kitchen gadgets.

  • Comfort in the Living Room
    A deep, cushy sofa or chair may look inviting, but once you sit down, it can be hard to stand up again. Choose a comfortable chair with sturdy armrests. You can raise a chair that's too low by placing it on blocks. Just make sure the blocks have receptacle holes so the chair legs fit into them instead of resting on them, where they could slide off. Raise a low table by adding leg extenders or wheels.

  • Safety in the Bathroom
    Grab bars are safety essentials around the tub, and they're now sold in colors to complement your bathroom décor. Putting a nonslip mat in the tub is smart, as well. A raised toilet seat makes it easier to sit down and get up. A single, lever-style handle for each faucet takes less effort to use than other types of controls.

  • Ease in the Bedroom
    A higher bed is easier to rise from in the morning. If you have trouble getting into and out of bed, consider a motorized bed that raises and lowers as needed. Some models look like attractive furniture rather than hospital beds. Leave plenty of open space on both sides so it's easier to make the bed.

  • Bright Lighting Ideas
    If your vision is affected by MS, avoid sudden transitions in lighting, such as going from a dark bedroom into a bright, shiny bathroom. Nightlights soften the transition and reduce tripping. Paint stair edges in a bright color to make them stand out. Avoid busy patterns on walls and floors, which can confuse the eye.

  • Create a Peaceful Haven
    You don't have to sacrifice style to adapt your home to MS. Decorate with an eye toward beauty and relaxation. Soothe your senses with restful sounds (a bubbling aquarium, soft background music) and pleasant aromas (scented candles, potpourri). Personalize every room with photos and objects that make you smile.

Helpful Home Adjustments for MS
  1. AbleData, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research's AbleData.
  2. At Home with MS: Adapting Your Environment. National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  3. Affordable, Accessible Housing: A Guide for People with MS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  4. Assistive Devices. National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  5. Make Your Bathroom Safer and Easier to Use. National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  6. What Are Some Types of Assistive Devices and How Are They Used? National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
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Last Review Date: 2019 Jun 27
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