When you face challenges with mobility, the accessibility of the environment can be a major factor in determining how active and engaged you’re able to be. In order to remain fully mobile, your home, workplace, neighborhood, transportation options and recreational activities all need to be suited to your needs.
Negative attitudes toward disability and the use of adaptive equipment can create as many barriers as the disability itself. A willingness to do things differently – utilizing whatever tools and strategies best meet the need – enables each person to stay fully mobile and engaged in all aspects of daily life. Using assistive technology isn’t about “giving in” to MS; it’s about taking charge of it.
Even fairly simple changes to your home, such as bathroom grab bars or other bathroom modifications, widened doorways, ramps and better lighting, can help you conserve energy, be more efficient in your daily tasks, and avoid dangerous falls. At work, accommodations such as a modified work station, reserved parking and specialized computer equipment, can help you remain productive and mobile.
Occupational therapists can help you adapt your environment and understand how accommodations in the workplace can help you maintain employment.
Explore resources for affordable accessible housing, including cohousing, in your community.
Read the article An 8 Step Real Life Downsizing Plan for additional ideas and tips.
Tools, devices and other technology solutions
A range of tools and devices are available to make everyday activities easier and safer. Technology can keep you connected with family and friends and help you manage your MS, handle everyday tasks, and even maintain a job. Find solutions in such areas as: mobility, housekeeping, workplace accommodations, safety, computers, low vision, recreation and more at AbleData, a comprehensive database of assistive devices and technology solutions. Learn more about how assistive technology can help you in the workplace.
Become an activist
in your own community. Does your library have accessible entrance? Can you access your voting site? Do your restaurants have barrier-free restrooms? The Americans with Disabilities Act grants everyone the right to participate in their communities.
Consult with a physical therapist who can help you determine the best mobility device to use when you’re out and about. While you may not use a device at home, you may want to use a scooter or wheelchair to travel long distances and to negotiate your local environment.