Living with MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is called "multiple" for a reason – it involves many different parts of the body in a variety of ways. And having MS affects many aspects of your life. This means that, when you're being treated for MS, your health care team will consist of several different kinds of people.

A typical MS clinic's care team might include:

  • doctors, for example:
    • neurologists
    • physiatrists (doctors who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation)
    • orthopedists
    • urologists
    • gastroenterologists
    • ophtalmologists
  • nurses
  • occupational therapists
  • physical therapists
  • counsellors
  • dietitians
  • speech-language therapists
  • orthotists

A health care team also typically involves family and friends. Having all these people helping out can be both comforting and frightening – comforting because you know you're well taken care of, and frightening to think that it takes so many people to care for a person with MS. But when you think about how many people are involved in the health and happiness even of a perfectly healthy person – family doctors, dentists, optometrists, nurses, various religious or non-religious counsellors – it begins to look a bit more like normal life. And, in fact, many people with MS lead lives mostly like anyone else's.

But it's not always possible for a person with MS to live a life exactly like most people. Fortunately, there is an incredible assortment of devices to help people with MS and others with similar conditions meet the challenges of daily living. Many of these devices are available in your local shopping mall, hardware stores, kitchen supply shops, drug stores, or department stores; others can be bought through hospitals and clinics; and there are companies that sell many of them online. Ask your local MS support group for recommendations.

Some of the things available to make life easier with MS include the following:

  • for around the house: special spring-style scissors, pegboards for easy-access storage, cupboard and closet organizers, revolving or fold-out storage devices, levers for door handles, key holders
  • for the kitchen: jar openers, cutting boards with pegs to hold food in place, built-up utensils for easier gripping, carts
  • for the bathroom: grab bars, toilet safety frames, aids to dexterity, rubber mats, long-handled sponges
  • for the bedroom: aids for putting on socks, dressing sticks and reaching sticks, shoehorns, elastic laces, button hooks

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