MS and assistive devices

From getting around your home to getting around your community, mobility may be a challenge if you have MS. But there are many devices to help keep you mobile and make getting around less of a challenge. These are called assistive devices, and are often prescribed by an occupational, physical, or speech therapist, following referral by a physician. Some are simple - for example, a grab bar that can help you get in and out of the shower - while others take advantage of the latest technologies, such as hand controls and low-energy steering wheels, which can be installed in your car so you can drive.

Thanks to emerging technologies, there is an ever-growing roster of aids that can help you to get around. And before you start to worry that the cost may be prohibitive, find out what is covered in your provincial health plan. In many provinces, certain devices are covered with a doctor's prescription. You also may be able to deduct the cost of some of these devices from your income tax. Your physician can help direct you to the appropriate resources and help you explore the wide range of options that exist, depending on your needs.

And don't forget about the tried-and-true. If you only have minor problems walking, a cane or walker can help you maintain your balance and stability and give you some added support, while a wheelchair or electric scooter can help you cover longer distances or get around if you can't walk at all. Talking to other MS patients through an MS support group can also point you to devices you may never have thought of.

Being able to get around can still be fun, too! If you're a biking fan, MS doesn't mean you have to kiss riding around on two wheels goodbye. There are many modified bikes on the market that feature things like special padded backrests to improve your comfort and rechargeable batteries to give you a boost when the fatigue kicks in.

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