Ideas for extending independent living

A forum to talk about the general challenges of daily life with MS.

Ideas for extending independent living

Postby JimNiowa » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:01 pm

Good evening,

I'm writing on behalf of my mother who has primary progressive MS. She's been a trooper and gone from walking with a floppy foot (10 years ago) to now primarily using an electric scooter. She can use her walker to go 10 feet, or so, to get to the toilet, but that's about it. She lives alone and has been falling more and more often. She's 60 years old and would really like not to go into assisted living until absolutely necessary. She has a nurse come by a couple times a week for baths, etc. my wife and kids stop by a few times a week to clean and vitis, and I stop by a few times a week to help with odds and ends. Any suggestions on physical devices that might help her live on her own would be greatly appreciated.

Current difficulties:
1. Hard to pull up shorts after going to bathroom.
2. Has to "drop" onto toilet because it's so low (I see they have adaptors to make them higher, which we'll look at)
3. Is generally falling more and more
4. She's been sleeping in her electric chair for the last 2 years because she can't get into and out of a bed

Thanks in advance,

Jim
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Re: Ideas for extending independent living

Postby lyndacarol » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:00 pm

JimNiowa wrote:Good evening,

I'm writing on behalf of my mother who has primary progressive MS. She's been a trooper and gone from walking with a floppy foot (10 years ago) to now primarily using an electric scooter. She can use her walker to go 10 feet, or so, to get to the toilet, but that's about it. She lives alone and has been falling more and more often. She's 60 years old and would really like not to go into assisted living until absolutely necessary. She has a nurse come by a couple times a week for baths, etc. my wife and kids stop by a few times a week to clean and vitis, and I stop by a few times a week to help with odds and ends. Any suggestions on physical devices that might help her live on her own would be greatly appreciated.

Current difficulties:
1. Hard to pull up shorts after going to bathroom.
2. Has to "drop" onto toilet because it's so low (I see they have adaptors to make them higher, which we'll look at)
3. Is generally falling more and more
4. She's been sleeping in her electric chair for the last 2 years because she can't get into and out of a bed

Thanks in advance,

Jim


Welcome, Jim. You have found a supportive community; I am sure that someone here will have suggestions for you and your mother. An occupational therapist would probably have the best ideas. But even the owner of a medical supply store could probably help.

Frequent falling is a serious concern! It seems to me that she should avoid "toilet trips" when she is alone. It seems to me that I have seen a picture somewhere of a wheelchair with a commode incorporated into it – no doubt, it would require a lap robe or coverlet or skirt, at least. I know there are reclining wheelchairs (Dr. Terry Wahls in Iowa City used one before her dramatic improvement with MS http://www.TerryWahls.com); I assume these are available among electric chairs also.

Browse through the Medical Devices forum here at ThisIsMS (medical-devices-f38/) – you may find other useful suggestions.
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Re: Ideas for extending independent living

Postby Froggie » Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:59 pm

Welcome Jim! This is definitely a great group of supportive people. A couple of ideas. While I am still able to walk, the bathroom was a rather scary place, as I have problems with balance and sometimes lifting myself up. I have a seat riser on the toilet as well as rails, which help a lot. I also have a grab pole outside of the bathtub (my husband calls it the stripper pole!) to aid getting in and out of the shower and a shower seat. I agree with lyndacarol that an occupational therapist is probably a good idea. They can visit your mother's space and see ways to improve getting around and doing things.

If insurance/finances are an issue, your local MS Society chapter and/or the MS Association of America can help with getting equipment and assistance.
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