by Geri Walton ~ January 29th, 2009
Motor skill, fatigue, and vision problems are common MS symptoms, and they can make daily tasks challenging. However, most MS sufferers learn to cope and lead satisfying and full lives. Although there’s currently no cure for MS, there are tips available to deal with motor skill issues, fatigue, and vision problems, and here are a few that may help:
Efficiency and Motor Skill Issues
- Add lazy susans and slide out shelves in the kitchen so you can access food, pots, pans, and dishes easier. You can also do this in the bathroom and in closets.
- If you can’t use a regular computer keyboard try a head- or eye-pointing device that directs low-level laser beams towards special keyboards. There is also voice-activated or speech recognition software that allows you to speak and they type or perform the appropriate action. For assistive technology products, click here to learn more or visit MS My Way.
- If you have dual handled faucets, replace them with single handled faucets as they are easier to operate.
- If you have a problem using light switches, replace them with rocker-panel switches, which are easier to use and can be found at any hardware store.
- If you have stairs, consider installing a hand rail on both sides to make it easier to manuever up and down them.
- Keep door hinges well oiled, so that doors open and close easily. If you are in a wheelchair, you can also tie a string or cord to door handles and pull them closed as you move through them.
- Purchase an organizer for your makeup and toiletries so that you can pull out and put away everything at one time.
- Put rubber bands around door knob handles or better yet replace round door knobs with lever type handles.
- Use power strips to turn off several pieces of equipment at once. For instance, if you plug in your computer, printer, monitor, etc. to a power strip, you can turn them on and off with the flip of one switch.
- Concentrate on one task at time.
- Eat well balanced meals to help keep yourself strong.
- If your energy levels are highest in the morning, get doctor appointments and do things earlier in the day.
- Moderate exercise not only seems to help fatigue but also seems to help improve people’s moods. So, if you don’t have exercise program, talk to your health care professional about the right one for you.
- Practice relaxation techniques so you can limit stress and fatigue.
- Take naps when you need them, but don’t sleep so much during the day, you can’t sleep at night.
- Add a magnifying light to your workspace.
- Adjust your computer for low vision and increase the text and icon sizes on your computer screen.
- Buy phones with large numbers, voice-activated features, and bright back lights.
- Label refrigerator, freezer, and food shelves so it’s easier to store and locate items.
Other Things to ThinK About
- Manage your liquid intake because nearly 80 percent of all MS sufferers have some bladder or urinary issue.
- Get copies of all your medical records and keep them in a central location where you have access to them. Some states may require you to pay fees for the copies. You can also now have all of your medical history on your cell phone. Read Emergency Service to learn more.
- Join an MS support group for ideas on how to cope, as well as how to share your everyday challenges.
- Keep a journal to write down your symptoms, new medications, new problems, or other important information so when you visit your health care practitioner you can provide accurate information.
- Learn about your disease by visiting websites, talking to health care professionals, and reading books.
- Notify your electric company if you have electrical equipment, such as electric beds, lifts, oxygen units, etc., so that if there is a power outage they will be aware and will be more likely to make attempts to restore your power as quickly as possible.
- Plan for the weather and dress appropriately so you aren’t overheated or too cold.
For more information on foods, alternative therapies, and MS resources, read Multiple MS Therapies and MS Treatment. If you’re interested in attitude, how having the right attitude helps and how it may affect MS symptoms, read MS Psychology: The Right Attitude. You can also learn about situation and insight managment by reading MS Management and Multiple MS Insights.