Assistive Devices for Living With MS
Jacqueline Ho | Jan 21, 2014
People living with MS may experience symptoms which make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as getting dressed, cooking and bathing. Fortunately, there is a range of assistive devices available that can help make daily life a little easier. It is recommended that anyone interested in using these devices speak with their doctor.
Different devices are available for people whose MS affects their ability to move around. There is likely a device for everyone, depending on the severity of the person’s symptoms. Devices to help with walking include leg braces, orthotics, canes and walkers. Wheelchairs and electric scooters can help people who need additional assistance.
Cooking and housework
Cooking often requires a range of motion in the wrists and strength that can be challenging for people with MS. Assistive devices for the kitchen include electric can openers, rocker knives, specialized utensils, pot stabilizers and cookware designed for people with limited arm and hand movement. Long-handled dusters and vacuums can make cleaning easier as well.
It can often be challenging for people with MS to keep their balance while bathing and showering, as well as getting in and out of the tub. Bathtub and shower modifications are sometimes recommended, which can include a shower bench, hand-held shower head and grab bars inside the shower or tub.
Good clothing options for people with MS include Velcro tennis shoes, shirts and pants with big buttons and clothing items with zippers. Long-handled shoehorns and sock pulls can also come in handy. When brushing hair or teeth, it can be helpful to use long-handled combs and toothbrushes. Here are some more tips for how to dress with MS.
For people who are able to drive, an occupational therapist may help conduct an assessment and make suggestions for how to continue driving. Assistive devices include hand controls, low-energy steering wheels and other aids.
Reading and writing
Since some people with MS encounter vision problems, reading with the help of lenses or magnifiers can be beneficial. For people who have to write or type, helpful devices include pens and pencils with special grips, large-key keyboards, an ergonomic mouse and voice recognition software.