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The MS Experience, Issue #0809 -- Short and Sweet! Accessibility Part 1
September 01, 2009
Hi there!

Welcome to issue no. 7 of The MS Experience,

our Life in Spite of MS Newsletter. As always, we are pleased to be able to bring you special tips, recipes, and more that will help you in your everyday life.

Each issue will also be archived on the website if you'd like to read it again. Plus you are also welcome to share these archived issues with your friends if you think would benefit from them.

We're are glad to be able to bring this issue to you. Last month we took a little break, so there was no newsletter. This month we have a short, mini version. We've been very busy the last couple weeks and haven't had time to devote to writing much content.

This month we have been on the verge of making a few major changes in our life. We'll let you know more about this in later issues. Needless to say, we're pretty excited about the possibilities to come.

Our newsletter this month will focus on accessibility. If you haven't noticed, we've added some accessible pages. You can find them here. The buttons are listed on three pages in alphabetical order.

To go along with them, we will give a few tips for making your home more accessible and for planning your dream accessible home. We have always had many dreams and through our business we know that they can now become a reality.

As always, you are welcome to share this newsletter with your friends and family. And if someone shared this newsletter with you, be sure to subscribe now so you won't miss out on a single upcoming issue.

So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, (iced tea or lemonade, maybe?) Go ahead, we'll wait. Have a seat, get comfortable, relax, and enjoy!

Recipe of the Month

We finally got the hang of making ice cream in our Vitamix! It came out perfectly.

We made banana, pineapple ice cream. It was delicious. We didn't add any ingredients that we can't read. No preservatives or high fructose corn syrup. Just frozen fruit, sweetener, vanilla, and milk. Yum!

If you have a Vitamix or ice cream maker or freezer, you can do the same thing. Healthy, frozen treats make the difference. You can substitute rice or almond milk and whatever sweetener you like.

So now for the recipe. Yes, I did say recipe - singular. We are still pretty busy, but hopefully we'll be able to add more next time.

Summertime seems to have come and gone in the space of a month or so. We didn't have the loong summer we love so much. But we did have a little bit of nice weather and because it has been cooler, it's been more comfortable for Cir. I'm sure it's more comfortable for many of you as well.

Okay, now for the recipe. This is one of our new summer favorites. There may be a recipe for this somewhere, but this is the way we do it.

Roasted Veggies

1 vidalia or red onion chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 or 2 yellow squash, slice in half, then sliced in 1 inch pieces
1 or 2 zucchini slced in half, then sliced in 1 inch pieces
1 large green, yellow or red, bell pepper (or half of each) sliced into bite-sized chunks
1 egg plant, peeled and sliced into 1 inch cubes
1 or 2 cups of carrots, sliced in 1 inch pieces

1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon each of basil, Italian seasoning, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, etc. Add your favorite seasonings to taste.

  • Put all sliced veggies in a large bowl.
  • Pour on olive oil and sprinkle on seasonings.
  • Flip and toss (or stir if you're not too brave) veggies, oil and seasonings in bowl to coat.
  • Pour veggies into pan (I use either a cookie sheet or my big pizza pan, depending on the amount of veggies I have, lined with foil or parchment paper.
  • Place pan in oven.
  • Bake for about 20 min. in 350 degree oven or until slightly browned around the edges.
  • Serve immediately.

  • Enjoy!

    That's the only recipe for this month. Next month we'll see about having more.

    Quote of the Month

    Is it difficult for you to change? I think it's especially true that as we get older it gets harder for us to change. We fall into a comfort zone and want to stay there because it's, well..., comfortable.

    Changes in nature come without much effort. More as a result of time; something that has to happen. Change like this leaves no other options. We change because we have to in order to continue on.

    Not even fear of change can stand in the way. Here's this months quote. Enjoy it!

    Inspirational Quote
    Butterfly courtesy of _PaulS_ Flickr

    “The key to change... is to let go of fear.”

    ~ Rosanne Cash ~

    Photo courtesy of _PaulS_

    Tips of the Month

    It is probably more ideal to think about accessibility before you actually need it. But life isn't always so convenient. Sometimes we have to make changes as we go along.

    This month we'll think about accessible living spaces. When it comes to living spaces you have to take in to account each area where you will spend most of your time. For our purposes these will be the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.

    You will also need to make sure you have access in and out of your home. This may include ramps or wheelchair lifts if you have stairs from the outside. Inside, hallways and doorways need to be wide enough for easy access.

    This issue will focus on the accessible bedroom and bathroom.


    Let's start with the bedroom. This is where you may spend a significant amount of your time, especially if you have mobility problems. It doesn't have to be this way, though. Many people with disabilities are very active - even more than many abled people.

    But the fact remains, there are things you may need in order to get around more easily within your home. The entrance needs to be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter.

    A standard wheelchair can measure up to 27" wide. Doorways need to be a minimum of 30 - 32" wide so that the chair can be maneuvered easily between them. This goes for all doors within your home, not just the bedroom.

    Cir has a couple grab bars in our bedroom. These help him get in and out of bed. They also help him move around in bed as well. We never knew how helpful they were until Cir got sick and couldn't lift himself and he was in such a position that I could barely lift him either.

    Since then, the grab bars in the bedroom have helped a lot. Whenever he feels a little weaker in the legs or in his body, they help give him that extra push or pull.

    If you don't have wall space for grab bars, you could purchase a pole with handles. These are either permanently attached to the floor and ceiling next to your bed, or a tension pole with a spring that keeps it in place.

    You may also eventually need a hospital bed. Not a pleasant thought for some, I'm sure, but it may be necessary or at least it may make things a little easier. The extra space needed for one should be built in to your design. If the bedroom you are in now will accommodate one, then you are fine. If not, could another room - living room, den, or dining room - be converted to a bedroom?

    Another thing that can help make it easier on you, are accessible closets. I had no idea there was such a thing until we moved into an accessible apartment. Every closet had lowered shelving and hanger bars.

    This is perfect for shirts, skirts and pants, but for coats and other long items, this means finding other storage options for things like that. We bought metal door hangers and hung the coats on the doors inside the closets. A pretty easy fix, but it works.


    Bathrooms unlike bedrooms, are subject to more safety issues. Water is more likely to cause slips and falls. There are more hard edges in a bathroom. In your bedroom you also need to make sure walk ways are clear and uncluttered, but thankfully water is not an issue.

    When planning an accessible bathroom, keep in mind that at some point you may need to move around with a wheelchair. Space is the best thing in a bathroom, the bigger the better. So if you have the chance to plan your new bathroom, give it all the space you can.

    When a new bathroom is not possible, what can you do? To make a bathroom accessible, you can add things like grab bars around the toilet and in the shower. This is the minimum you can do.

    Safety mats that are easy to walk on are also an easy fix. This one's kind of a no-brainer as far as safety goes. You always want to have a mat when you take a bath or shower. With MSers, however, the mat needs to be easy to walk on if foot drop is a problem. A mat with edges that flip up or one that bunches up can make things very difficult for an MSer.

    Other possibilities for a more accessible bathroom are a walk in bathtub or roll in shower. These are, of course, a little more expensive, but well worth it if you can afford them.

    Accessible sink handles for turning the water on and off are another pretty easy fix. And an accessible vanity or sink may be a little more challenging but necessary for continued independence.

    The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), has written guidelines for installing all kinds of accessible medical equipment in the home. So that would be a good place to start before making any modifications.

    Well hopefully these tips have given you something to think about. We will have more in next months issue - Accessibility Part 2. This week is short and sweet.

    Sorry folks, no book or cartoon of the month this month. We'll work on that next time. Till then, be safe!

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