Multiple Sclerosis Assistive Devices Can Change Lives
Jay Contrastano enjoyed playing golf, but when his multiple sclerosis took a turn for the worse, he thought his golfing days were over. That’s when he was introduced to an assistive device that changed his life for the better,
The degree of disability associated with multiple sclerosis varies considerably among those living with the disease. Generally, research indicates that individuals with relapsing-remitting MS typically advance to secondary progressive disease in about 80 percent of cases within 20 years.
The need for assistive devices can happen at any time during the course of the disease and address any number of physical and/or mental challenges. For example, assistive devices can range from a cane and grip bars in the shower to hand controls in the car, adjustable chairs, scooters, memory aids (e.g., apps on smartphones and tablets), and voice-recognition software.
For Jay, one assistive device consists of a specially equipped cart that is controlled with a joy stick. He noted that “there are two buttons to lift and raise you and also for the speed of the cart. My experience with it was amazing.”
Until he was introduced to this cart at the Stanley Golf Course in New Britain, Connecticut, Jay didn’t think he would ever play golf again. “It’s very simple to use and gives you back hope that there are things like this out there to help people get back to doing what they love.”
Multiple sclerosis assistive devices
Could you benefit from an assistive device? Not everyone is looking for a special golf cart, but you may have some other needs or desires.
At the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, there’s a program called the MSF Assistive Technology (AT) Program, whose purpose is to “educate and assist individuals with MS across the country about the myriad of AT options available” and how to get them.
According to the MSF website, the MSF AT Program “may provide an AT product, help locate a product, or help with funding for a wide range of devices that allow individuals with MS to function more independently in activities of daily living, as well as recreational, educational, and vocational activities.” The types of products the program can help with include communication devices, modifications to vehicles and homes, computer aids, items that assist with mobility, seating, and positioning, cooling aids, hearing and vision aids, orthotics, and aids for daily living.
You can access an application for the program here. The application includes questions about level of disability, symptoms, family support, income, and assistance requirements.