Ask The Expert: Do you have tips and tricks that make life with MS easier for you?

Simple daily tasks like showering, remembering to take your medicine, and tidying up your house can be challenging for people living with multiple sclerosis. We asked our amazing contributors to share what they do to make life easier….take a look below to see what they had to say!

Laura

My thoughts aren’t so much life hacks or even tricks, but survival tips to myself and to others. Be kind to yourself first and foremost. There is so much that is unpredictable about this disease and we can easily become our own worst enemy by negative self-talk when we can’t accomplish all we had set out to do. Be selfish can be a good thing and it nothing to be ashamed about – put yourself first and make sure you are doing all you can do for your mental and physical health. A healthier you is better able to help family, friends and community than if you put your needs last. Be happy – yes it sounds simplistic but find something that makes you happy, and do it. It could be a slow walk with your kids, reading a book, or talking to an old friend on the phone. The possibilities of at east one thing that makes you happy are endless and it’s important

Ashley

  • Shopping online – I’m not big on crowds in the first place, but I have found that it’s easier to shop online, to eliminate the hassle of leaving the house. Some of my local stores have a “pick-up” lane as well. You can do your shopping online and give a time that you will be there to pick it all up. They deliver straight to your car!
  • iRobot vacuum – I know these are expensive. I got one for Christmas though and it is a LIFE SAVER. I don’t have to worry about sweeping up after the kids and hubby and dogs! You just set it on a schedule of what days/times to run. All you have to do is empty the bin when it’s all done.
  • Calendar Reminders – I don’t know what I would do without this. I have EVERYTHING on my phone calendar. And have it set to remind me two different times, especially if it’s a reminder for a doctor appointment.
  • Dry Shampoo/Conditioner – I know this sounds odd, but it does work! I use it when I need to wash my hair, but really do NOT have the energy to take a shower. Sounds gross, I know. But there are just those days sometimes where getting out of bed is gruesome.
  • Automatic Script Refill – So after running out of meds without having a refill, and going without my meds till they could be filled is no bueno. I do the automatic refill so I have one less thing to “remember”. Because we all know remembering things and having MS is not the best combination.
  • Cleaning, doing one room a day, not all at once. – I used to try and so all my cleaning in one day… and it would burn me out. So now I just clean certain areas on certain days. I don’t get work out and “pay for it”. Might still be exhausted from that one thing… but at least it’s not the entire house that you’re exhausted from.
  • Bills – Automatic Bill Pay – Oh my gosh! I’m horrible about remembering to pay bills. Which I end up getting late fees charged since I didn’t pay. So doing the automatic pay just makes it one less thing I have to worry about.

Devin

One of my biggest tips for MS is to keep a routine, I find that things go much smoother for me if I follow a regular routine each week. It’s also pretty important for me to keep a note file on my phone that I constantly write reminders on. I’ll also write on my arm in sharpie (don’t worry, it comes off) a lot to help me remember important things. I’d be lost without all those notes!

Kim

Tips and tricks that make living with MS a bit easier for me starts with sticking to my medication dosing schedule. If I forget to take my afternoon dose of baclofen, for example, my stiff, painful leg muscles will soon let me know it. I take the forgotten dose as soon as possible. Skipping it all together will come back to bite me—not that evening when it’s time to dose again, but the next morning. Weird but true.

My newest tool is a less expensive version of a Squatty Potty. Parking my feet atop this 7-inch step puts me into more of a squatting position, which makes evacuating the lower intestine easier even with chronic constipation. It also cuts down sitting time by lining up my plumbing and making things go faster and easier. The only difficulty is having to grab my weak right foot and pulling it up onto the raised plastic. A minor challenge and so worth it.

Meghan

My pill pouch is my biggest life hack since getting diagnosed with MS. I have to remember to take a variety of medicines daily and it’s hard for me to remember to take them. My weekly pill pouch has really helped me get my medicines organized. Every Sunday I load my pill pouch up with my pills for that week (it has the compartments labeled Monday-Sunday) and stick it in my purse. It helps me not forget my medicine since it’s always with me and helps me see what medicine I’ve taken and what I need to take.

Stephanie

In addition to the life hacks I wrote about, I would now add hand controls for cars since it is difficult to drive with foot drop and/or leg weakness. Of that list in my life hacks article curbside pickup at the grocery store is still my favorite! Nothing saves me more time and energy!

Lisa

My favorite tips or tricks for living with MS are actually gadgets for the kitchen that can be helpful for anybody. While some gadgets are gimmicky, these small tools make ordinary tasks easier and safer. My favorite tool — the JarPop or JarKey — is a plastic tool that helps to open vacuum-sealed jar lids. It works on most jar lids that have a lip under the lid. Simply use the tool to break the vacuum seal and unscrew the lid with greater ease. A second tool I love is one that I received as a gift many years ago and didn’t fully appreciate its usefulness until recently — a wooden oven rack puller/pusher. My aunt handcrafted several of these and gave them away to members of the family. I use the device to push baking dishes farther into the oven, to pull the rack out to better see what has been cooking, to more safely remove dishes from the oven, and to push the rack back into the oven. This simple oven puller/pusher has saved me from getting burned several times.

Comments

View Comments (5)
  • Parker 1133
    2 years ago

    Devin is right about having a routine. Having a routine has helped me immensely. I’m sure I am not the only person who feels like they have more energy earlier in the day, so I tend to do more tasks in the morning and have learned to slow down.

  • potter
    2 years ago

    I used a light weight 3 step ladder for a while to get things off of high shelves. I am not very comfortable on them anymore (I’m to wobbly) I bought one of the grippers that you can use to reach stuff on high shelves. I had to rearrange my kitchen cabinets so that only light weight items were on them. Buy a good one not a cheap one. Potter

  • marigoldg
    2 years ago

    I’ve picked up a few things along the way. Here are my ways of making MS easier:

    – Using an app to remind me to take my meds. I use MangoHealth, but there are lots of others out there.
    – Shopping online. I can’t tolerate going to malls or other places with lots of people, so I do most of my shopping online.
    – Adding a stool to the bathtub. I can’t tolerate standing for more than a few minutes any longer, so my little bathtub stool makes it much easier for me to get through a shower without falling.
    – Installing a handheld shower head.
    – Installing a wall basket (Command Strip) in the shower to hold all of my products within easy reach.
    – Dry shampoo.
    – Training my dog to climb stairs to get into bed with me!
    – Investing in a quality bed. It’s helped my sleep substantially.
    – Long-handled shoe horn.
    – Sock assistance device. Recommended by my occupational therapist. Helps me get socks onto my feet.
    – Bedside rail with pockets. Gives me something sturdy to grab onto when I get out of bed, while holding my remote controls, tablet, phone and more.
    – Adding a flashlight, cup holder and side bag to my rollator.
    – Using a laptop tablet holder.
    – Using adaptive spoons and other kitchen items.
    – Working with a dedicated specialty pharmacy agent. She calls me monthly to go over refills and arrange shipment of all of my medications at one time.
    – Arranging my furniture to minimize obstacles.
    – Asking family for help.

  • Nomdeplume
    2 years ago

    1) grocery delivery to my home
    2) a shower chair with a back
    3) grab bars in the bathroom
    4) a hand-held shower head
    5) installing railings for the two front steps
    6) a light-weight, “TravelScoot” scooter which I keep in my car (battery in the house) so it is always handy
    7) a cleaning cart that contains all my essentials (like the hotel maids use) which I hold on to as I go from room to room. It saves me much time and energy because everything is together, incl. trash bag, p. towels, toilet paper, etc. I do one room a day sometimes.
    8) multiple canes, including a collapsible one that I store in the car “just in case”
    9) a round, carousel-like organizer that holds my daily pill boxes for a whole month so that I don’t have to go through the task of filling them every week
    10) a tiny bottle of water that I keep in my purse so that I am never caught unable to take my meds when I am out
    11) a tiny battery-operated fan that I keep in my purse (sometimes alternating with a different one that is plugged into/powered by my phone)
    12) hand sanitizer bottle or towelettes in my purse
    13) wearing Poise pads when out (designed for bladder leakage vs. menstrual pads), just in case
    14) Tizanidine (instead of Baclofen) at night helps me sleep straight through
    15) Friends who are willing to come to my house to visit, instead of our going out
    16) a shoe horn because sometimes you have all to do just to get dressed and every little bit of assistance helps
    17) a button hole tool for those shirts or cardigans that have a million buttons
    18) satin pajama bottoms make it easier to roll over in bed
    19) necklaces with magnetic closures vs. clasps
    20) multiple night lights in strategic places, which I just leave on all the time (low wattage means it is not worth stooping to turn them on and off every day)
    21) a cup holder that attaches to my rollator–great for coffee when I am at work
    22) a cane holder that attaches to my rollator–sometimes you need both
    23) a lightweight cross-body bag (or sometimes a fanny pouch) that I use to keep my cell phone and landline phone with me throughout the day. Nothing worse than trying to get to a ringing phone that you left on the other side of the house

  • PegLeg
    2 years ago

    Lift chairs, a must have,, wouldn’t be without one

    walk in bath tub, when I could no longer climb in or out, spendy, but well worth the money, and the jets ahhhhhh,, need I say more

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