If you are still adjusting to a new diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, you might be nervous about the prognosis of the disease. Your quality of life can greatly depend on your living situation and how adaptable your home will be to the changes your body will experience. You can customize your next home to fit the needs of your diagnosis, extending your ability to be self-sufficient.
Here are some customizations to consider:
One Flooring Material
Many people with MS complain of finding it difficult to transition for carpet to tile to hardwood throughout the house. The slight differences in elevation can become a tripping hazard. Therefore, it's a great idea to choose a durable flooring that will work in all rooms, including the bathroom. Wood-look tile is popular, but high-end vinyl tiles can also be an option for those who prefer more warmth under their feet.
Climbing over a tub wall can become challenging. It's best to install walk-in showers that have no ledges or platforms—instead, they share a floor with the rest of the bathroom in seamless continuity. To make sure you don't have water problems, have your custom home builder slant the flooring slightly in the shower to direct water toward a flat drain near the wall. This way, you never have trouble with water pool on the floor. You can block the rest of the bathroom from water by install glass doors or a weighted shower curtain that surrounds the walk in area, or build the walk-in to be doorless, so the wall acts as a partition to keep water contained.
You shower should be large enough to install a bench and grab bars for unexpected moments of dizziness or loss of balance.
Large Master Bedroom
Some homes like to feature nooks, clever hallways, or other similar architecture in the master bedroom. These are fine, but the path from your bed to the door and to the bathroom should be unhindered by tight corners or built-ins. Make the floor plan large and simple. If you want to add a feature, consider vaulted ceilings or a large, uniquely-shaped window.
The most helpful feature in an intuitive MS kitchen is a mobile, cart-style island. You can pull the island closer to the sink to load dishes into cabinets, or pull it closer to the fridge so you don't have to take many steps when pulling out ingredients to prepare a meal. Finally, the cart island can be used to bus the dining room table and carry casseroles or turkey platters to the table, so you aren't carrying these heavy things in your hands. Include a custom-made stool for your height to allow you to sit comfortably at the counter during long prep tasks.
Anti-Glare Windows and Lighting
High-intensity light can increase dizziness. You can help cut back on the intensity by opting for windows that have been tinted to reduce UV rays. You can also choose smart windows that can be dimmed or blacked at the touch of a button. Remote controlled window treatments are also a good option.
Low lighting in a room can also be a problem. Make sure your custom home is wired to handle many light fixtures to provide bright, even lighting throughout your house, especially in work spaces like the office or kitchen.
You will want one level, true ranch living. This includes entrances like the garage and the front doors. Most homes feature steps from the garage to the door. Your builder may be able to build a ramp or breezeway that allows for smooth entry. If you must have stairs, make sure they could later accommodate a lift.
If you're living with MS and want a home to help you adjust, click here for more info on changes you can make to your home.