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.
Adaptations at home and at work
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.
There are resources to help defray the costs of home modifications.
- Bryon Riesch Paralysis Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to those with neurological disorders and offers assistance with home modifications. Grants are dependent on funding, please check with the foundation for their funding status.
- Centers for Independent Living can help identify local funds available for home modifications
- Property Improvement Loan Insurance insures loans to finance the light or moderate rehabilitation of properties
- Digital Federal Credit Union offers Access Loans for modifications
- HUD Lender List Search allows you to search for lenders
- Veterans Administration provides grants to Veterans with disabilities who need to make modifications
- Medicaid home and community based waivers can be used in some states to pay for access modifications
- Habitat for Humanity Home Preservation Program offers exterior maintenance services including exterior paint and minor repair such as fixing broken windows, adding wheelchair ramps, landscaping or sidewalk repair
- Rebuilding Together provides free rehabilitation and critical repairs to the homes of low-income Americans, particularly the elderly or persons living with disabilities
- USDA provides loans to low-income homeowners to repair, improve or modernize their homes
- IRS Tax Credits- The entire cost of renovations and home improvements, if made for bona fide medical purposes, can be claimed as IRS tax deductions as long as they do not increase the property value of your home based on a real-estate appraisal. Speak to a tax professional or accountant for more information.
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 by accessing the resources below.
- Assistive Technology Industry Association
Find out about AT products and services the Assistive Technology Industry Association’s (ATIA) members provide by looking through AT manufacturers, sellers, and providers in the ATIA Membership Directory.
ATIA Membership Directory
Users can find products from hygiene and self-care to electronics and accessories. Search through Atvisor’s Product Catalog to find and select products that best fit your needs.
- Global Assistive Technology Network
This worldwide search engine on technology gives you access to multiple national databases including information about AT products and information about manufacturers and suppliers worldwide. Information can be translated into your preferred language.
Assistive Technology Search
- Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR)
Search and find information about various accommodation options in work and educational settings for people with disabilities through SOAR, a database maintained by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN).
- National AgrAbility Project
AgrAbility’s database contains assistive technology solutions, designs, ideas, techniques, and suggestions for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities.
- Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure
Search through this database to find access to communication, computers and digital devices.
GPII - Unified Listing
Become an activist
in your own community. Does your library have an 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.