Accessible, affordable housing is often a critical element in enabling people with MS to preserve their independence and remain engaged in their communities. In order to make this process easier, we have provided the following resources. Find your local resources.
People have a big choice to make—whether to give up one or another of the activities that make life full and interesting, or figure out ways to do things differently.
- The Affordable, Accessible Housing Guide helps families evaluate their housing needs and better understand the range of housing options available to them.
- Adapting your environment to meet your needs is an important step toward maximizing function and independence.
Find housing nationwide that falls under Section 8, a Federal housing program which provides housing assistance to low-income renters and homeowners. This assistance comes in the form of rental subsidies, limiting the monthly rent payment of the assistance recipient.
Simple Home Modifications
Richard Duncan, Executive Director, RL Mace Universal Design Institute, Chapel Hill, NC
Standard home lighting (particularly overhead lighting) may be too dim to perform routine tasks or to provide safe illumination. A household member might easily introduce much higher lumen lighting by replacing standard incandescent bulbs with compact floursecent lights (CFL’s). Because CFL’s operate at a much lower temperature than incandescent bulbs, you can replace a typical 60 watt incandescent bulb (producing 900 lumens) with CFL’s that produce 1200 or 1500 lumens. The higher heat production makes this impossible with 75 watt or 100 watt incandescent bulbs. A CFL can produce more lumens, with lower heat output and with lower energy use as well! These bulb switches are particularly useful at stairs and in the laundry and kitchen.
Mobility and Flooring Issues
Carpeting, whether wall-to-wall or area rugs, can impede walking or rolling due to high pile, thick padding, or abrupt edges. Standard door thresholds can also impede movement. Putting skid-proof rug pads under area rugs, securing the corners and the edges of area rugs, and removing throw or scatter rugs all make walking or rolling easier and diminish the risk of tripping. A doorway modification is to replace high thresholds with low, beveled ones or with flooring to create a smooth transition.
These and many other alterations (that will be discussed in future articles) can allow individuals to remain in the home or families to remain together. Home modifications can ease the physical and time burdens on caregivers. They can also allow significant cost savings by eliminating or delaying a move to an expensive care setting.
This article has been adapted from, Home Modifications and Products for Safety and Ease of Use, by Richard Duncan, with Andrea Gabriel, Michael Carter and Margo Johnson, 1999, NC State University, Raleigh, NC.