300Tips for Making Life with Multiple Sclerosis Easier
by Shelley Peterman Schwarz
General Tips for Making Life Easier
Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) forced me to simplify my life. I was 32 years old and it was clear that life as I knew it had changed forever. As much as I wanted to deny it, I could not physically, mentally, or emotionally keep up the breakneck pace I demanded of myself.
As I began writing this book, I realized there were several overriding principles that everyone with a chronic medical condition like MS should know-for example, alternate periods of activity with periods of rest, plan aheard, and take advantage of labor saving devices and new technology.
In this chapter you will learn the most basic lessons for conserving time and energy so you will have more time and energy for the things you want to do. Using these techniques, you will be more organized and be able to work smarter. And, most important, you will be more independent than you otherwise would have been.
--Keep balance in your life. Prioritize, eliminate, consolidate, and streamline activities in all aspects of your life.
--Take care of yourself. Make compromizes. Do the things that are important to you and to your family and try to eliminate unnecessary or difficult taks. Be sensible about how you spend your time and energy. Give yourself permission to rest. Put your feet up when possible and remove the word should from your vocabulary.
--Pace your activities and rest before you become exhaustd. Try to break dwn a given activity into a series of smaller tasks or, if need be, enlist the help of others.
--Eat a healthy diet. Do not skip meals.
--Use technology like cordless phones, speakerphones, answering machines, and wireless intercoms to save time and energy. For example, computers can be used for keeping records, keeping a journal, and writing letters. An Internet connect can expand your research capabilities from home and provide opportunities to communicate with others who have MS.
--Arrange your home for your convenience. Sometimes this means placing furniture in strategic locations to help you walk from room to room placing a chair halfway down a long hallway so you can stop to rest. Sometimes it means purchasing duplicate cleaning supplies for the upstairs rooms and the downstairs rooms.
--When you need help, take advantage of products and services that are available. Don't look at this as giving in when you need something to help you. Instead, look at it as making intelligent decisions that will make your life easier and safer.
--Use labor-saving devices. Reachers, for example, come in various lengths, weights, and means of operation. Some have trigger grips similar to a pistol that are operated by squeezing your finger. Others have full grasp handgrips that allow you to squeeze with all your fingers. Some reachers have magnets at the end for picking up metal objects. Others have rubber grippers or vinyl-covered tips for better holding power. Battery operated reachers automatically open and close gripping jaws with a light push on a rocker switch. Some reachers fold in half for traveling or storage, and some come with a carrying attachment that clamps the reacher to a walker or wheelchair. Whenever possible try out the device before purchasing it!
--When shopping, pushing a grocery cart may give you added stability as you walk. Some department stores/grocery stores have scooters, use the scooter to save energy.
--When noisy enviroments defeat you, select quieter places inwhich to spend your time. As a safeguard, carry earplugs in your purse or pocket.
--Before going out, call ahead to a restaurant, theather, new doctor's ofice, and so forth, and ask if the facility is handicap-accessible. Ask where the restrooms are located. Ask about parking facilities, about the most convenient entrance, and so on.