Home Life Lighten the load
<strong>Adaptive tools such as a jar opener, electric toothbrush and large trackball mouse can help facilitate everyday tasks.</strong> Photos: iStock
Adaptive tools such as a jar opener, electric toothbrush and large trackball mouse can help facilitate everyday tasks. Photos: iStock

Lighten the load

Adaptive tools can make things a little easier when you’re living with multiple sclerosis.

by James Townsend

Simple household tasks can be a chore for people with multiple sclerosis who might be dealing with symptoms such as muscle weakness or mobility issues. Fortunately, a wealth of adaptive tools and tips are at hand.

Eating and drinking

Spill-proof cup
Sometimes holding or drinking from a glass or cup can be a struggle. A wide-grip, spill-proof cup may be the answer. Search “spill-proof cup” online.

Hydration packs and flexible straws
Hydration packs can be worn or mounted on a wheelchair (or any chair) with various lengths of sipping tubes for easier access. Prices range from $60 to more than $100. Packages of 28-inch-long flexible straws are available for about $12. Search “hydration pack for wheelchairs” and “flexible or bendable straws” online.

Clothes protector
Protect your clothing while eating with waterproof and washable clothes protectors. Around $15. Search “dining clothes protector” online.

Hand clip
Are you having trouble gripping, eating or using cooking utensils? Hand clips will fit almost any utensil. About $15. Some utensil sets also have non-slip handles already attached. Search “utensil hand clip” online.

Jar opener
A multi-purpose, battery-operated automatic can and jar opener can be a big help when you have limited hand, wrist or forearm strength. Around $20. Search “automatic jar opener” online.

Try lightweight pots and pans for cooking and rocker knives with rounded blades for easier cutting. Prices vary. Search “lightweight cookware” and “adaptive kitchen knives” online.

In the bathroom
A number of items are available for personal hygiene.

Electric or battery-powered toothbrushes are easy to grip and clean more easily than a standard toothbrush. From about $65. Search “electric toothbrush” online.

Choose a big-handled floss holder for flossing. From $6. Search “dental floss holder” online.

Adaptive devices for the shower and bath include long-handled shower brushes, shower and bath seats, safety handholds, non-skid bathmats and ADA-compliant faucets. Search online for individual products by name or search “adaptive shower aids” or “daily living aids.”

Around the home

Reaching tools can help with getting items that are placed high on a shelf. Photos: iStock

Reaching tools
When bending to pick something up or reaching for something on a high shelf is difficult, try reaching tools. Around $15 and up. Search online for “reach extender” or “grabber tool.”

Work aids
Computers and the internet are an essential part of modern life. A large trackball mouse can help with arm and wrist motion. About $35. Search “trackball mouse” online.

A variety of adjustable tables and accessories are available for wheelchair users, including trays that easily attach and detach. Prices vary. Search “detachable tray” or “wheelchair tray” online.

Typing aid button pushers fit easily over the hand and allow you to push one key (or any button) at a time. About $25. Search “typing aid button pusher” online.

James Townsend is a writer in Boulder, Colorado.