Daily Living Activities

You do a lot of little activities every day, usually without even thinking about them: button your clothes, brush your teeth and pick up a coffee mug. These common tasks are automatic for most people, but they become more challenging when you’re living with ALS.

You can make daily living activities easier by adjusting how you do things or making small changes to items around the house. There are many different products or techniques you can use, and our free downloadable daily living activities manual covers everything in-depth.

Below are some tips to make daily living activities easier:

  • Wrap the handles of forks, spoons, combs, toothbrushes or other small utensils with foam, rubber or tape to make them larger and easier to grip. You can buy foam tubes and cut them into the correct lengths or wrap rubber bands or tape around the handles until they’re a comfortable thickness.
  • Use lighter-weight utensils, such as plastic forks or plastic cups.
  • Choose a mug that has a large handle, so you can use your entire hand to grip it rather than just a couple of fingers.
  • Use cups with a ribbed rather than smooth outer surface. A ribbed surface is easier to grip.
  • For zippers on clothing, attach a loop of string or a metal ring to the zipper tab to make it easier to grab and pull.
  • For clothes with buttons, you can remove the buttons and sew on pieces of Velcro instead: one piece where the button had been attached to the clothing, and one piece on the back side of the buttonhole. You can then sew the buttons back on, but on the outside of the buttonhole, so it looks like the clothing is still buttoned.
  • Consider buying clothing that’s easier to manage, such as pullover tops that don’t require buttoning, buttonless pants with elastic waists and clothes that are a couple of sizes bigger than normal and, therefore, easier to put on.
  • Use sweatpants that don’t have elastic around the ankles, or remove the elastic, so it’s easier to slip your foot through the opening.
  • Form a washcloth pocket by sewing two washcloths together on three sides. You can then slip your hand and/or soap into the pocket, so you can wash without having to grip the cloth.
  • Put toothpaste directly into your mouth before brushing, rather than trying to put it on the toothbrush first. You can hold the tube of toothpaste between your two palms and squeeze them together to get the toothpaste out, instead of trying to grip and squeeze with one hand.
  • Leave the cap off the tube of toothpaste so you don’t have to screw it off and on with each use.
  • Flip-top lids, such as those on many brands of shampoo and lotion bottles, can be opened and closed using the edge of a table or countertop.
  • Choose a hairstyle that’s easy to care for.
  • Take breaks and allow for periods of rest throughout your day to prevent fatigue.

For more tips on how to make daily living activities easier, download the complete manual or ask your local ALS Care Services Manager.

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