Tips to Help With Daily Living
Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2021 | Last updated: June 2023
The muscle weakness caused by myasthenia gravis (MG) can make it hard to perform some of your daily tasks. The tasks that people with MG find troublesome can be very different from person to person, depending on which muscles are weak. Plus, what may be problematic one day may not be the next.
This means you will need to find ways to save your strength to do the things you want and need to do. These tips can be applied to getting dressed, cooking, bathing, and getting around. Keep in mind, you may not need every energy-saver every day, and you likely will need to pick and choose what works for you.
The bathroom, with its wet, slippery surfaces, can be a difficult place for some. Depending on the day, some people need extra help with the work of hair care, makeup, and going to the toilet. Some ideas for making self-care easier include:1
- Install grab bars in the shower, tub, and by the toilet
- Use a plastic shower chair so you can sit while washing
- Try a hose attachment for the showerhead so you have more flexibility in how you wash
- Buy a hands-free holder for your blow dryer. These may be wall-mounted, sit on the counter, or on the floor.
- Choose an easy-to-manage hairstyle and streamline your makeup routine
- Use an electric toothbrush
- Sit to brush or blow-dry your hair, shave, and brush your teeth
- If you are feeling weak, consider a sponge bath rather than a full shower
- Add a toilet lift if you need it
There are several ways to conserve energy when you are working in the kitchen, such as:1
- Sit at a table while chopping vegetables, or use a lap-based cutting board
- Invest in energy-saving appliances and devices like an electric can opener, electric mixer, and blender
- Buy the smallest containers possible at the store
- Buy a set of lightweight dishes, pots, pans, and silverware
- Keep things in easy reach to avoid squatting or getting on a step stool. If possible, install racks that raise items in lower cabinets and lower items in upper cabinets.
- If you must buy food in large containers, like a gallon of milk, ask a friend to pour it into smaller containers you can easily handle
Around the house
You can make your home a more comfortable place for you to be with a few simple steps. Common tips for people with MG include:1,2
- Use a grabber to make it easier to pick things up off the floor or from above your head
- Avoid falls by taping down rugs or removing them completely. Keep walkways clear.
- If heat is one of your triggers, keep floor fans or ceiling fans in every room
- Install a bed ladder if you need help sitting up in bed
- Keep a cooling neck scarf in the refrigerator for a quick cool-down
- Install an app on your computer that reminds you to rest your eyes. Many are free.
- Consider adding a chairlift if you have trouble with stairs in your house
Shopping and getting out
When you are out and about, try to include some of these ideas to make getting around easier:
- Plan your outings so you go when you can park close to the store. Think about how to get in and out of the store quickly so you do not have to wander the aisles.
- Choose stores that provide shopping scooters, if possible
- Bring a lightweight cane for extra support
- Use a city shopping cart or luggage cart to move things to and from the car.
- If it is hot outside, remember to bring a cool bottle of water or insulated drink bottle so it is easier to quickly cool off
If you are on a budget, second-hand stores, Craigslist, and neighborhood sales pages are a great place to find used items that can help with daily living.