Multiple Sclerosis Information for Everyone

The neurological condition known as Multiple Sclerosis is a long lasting condition which is thought to affect more than 100,000 people living in the UK. It is typically diagnosed between the ages of 20 to 40, but can occur in both younger and older individuals. It is far more common in women than men. In fact, three times as many women have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). There are three main types of MS: relapsing remitting, secondary progressive, and primary progressive. In relapsing remitting MS, people have distinct attacks, but symptoms fade. With secondary progressive MS, there is a steady and sustained build-up of symptom over time. Primary progressive MS is less common and those with this type experience a gradual increase of symptoms rather than separate attacks. Even patients diagnosed with the same type of MS may experience the disease differently.

 

The exact cause of MS is unknown, but it’s thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People suffering from MS experience a breakdown of the protective protein layer around their nerves, known as the myelin. This makes it more difficult for messages from the brain to reach other areas of the body. Symptoms of MS can include vision problems, balance and dizziness issues, fatigue, loss of bladder control, and stiffness or muscle spasms. As it progresses, some patients may also experience difficulty swallowing, tremors, speech difficulties, and cognitive issues.

Living with Multiple Sclerosis

Because early signs and symptoms of MS can be different in every patient, diagnosing the condition can be difficult. It can take several months for a neurologist to accurately diagnose MS. Although there is no cure, treatments exist to help alleviate stress and reduce symptoms, and minimize relapses. These options include dietary changes, exercise, medications, and other therapies. Despite these treatments, the loss of mobility and muscle control can be frustrating and stressful. Self-care can become increasingly difficult, but medical aids can help ease this situation.

Practical Aids

MS can impact every facet of a person’s life. Appropriate medical devices can help patients retain some independence and reduce stress.

Bathing

Muscle stiffness, dizziness, and balance issues can be incredibly tiring and may lead to slips and falls in the shower. Products like grab rails, shower seats, extra-long handled sponges, and safety aids help patients retain their independence and dignity while in the bath or shower.

Dressing Aids

Seemingly simple tasks like buttoning and zipping clothes can be quite difficult for someone with MS. Devices like button hooks, zipper pulls, sock pulls, long-handled shoe horns, and Velcro belts all help make the daily task of dressing easier.

Eating

Tremors and weak muscles can make feeding oneself quite difficult. Specialized cutlery, plate surrounds, plate guards, electric can openers, and many other devices make eating and drinking much easier for MS patients.

Mobility Aids

Balance concerns and dizziness are common among MS patients. Walking sticks, quad canes help provide stability and prevent falls while walking. As the disease progresses, items like walkers and wheelchairs can help patients maintain their independence and self-esteem.

Bathroom

Sitting and standing can be difficult due to the balance issues common with MS. Items such as portable commodes, toilet support rails, and toilet lifts can help patients retain their dignity and stay safe in the bathroom.

 

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More information

Please note: VAT is removed in the checkout process

In the UK, disabled people do not have to pay VAT when buying certain disability aids and services (This can be claimed by friend or family member purchasing on their behalf). Not everything supplied to disabled people is necessarily zero-rated for VAT. Goods and services on which you do not have to pay VAT are usually known as 'zero-rated' or 'eligible for VAT relief.

Who is eligible for VAT relief?

You must be 'chronically sick or disabled' to qualify for VAT relief. The HMRC comment on this is as follows. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they either:

VAT Relief on our Disability Aids

All products on the Aids for Mobility website are flagged with an option to claim VAT relief during Checkout if it applies to that item. When you add a zero-rated product or service to your Basket, you will be asked to tick a checkbox to confirm that you, or the person for whom you are buying the item, are eligible for VAT Relief.

How VAT relief works

If you are claiming VAT Relief you will be asked to complete an extra few questions during Checkout, where we will ask you to provide brief details of your disability and confirmation that the product is for 'personal or domestic use'. We will keep a record of this declaration along with your order details. You can then buy the product(s) in your Basket at a price that excludes VAT. You will be asked to make this declaration each time you place an order that includes zero-rated products. It is a legal requirement that we record this information for every order, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

More information from HMRC

You can find out more about VAT Relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you cannot find the answer to your questions there or would prefer to speak to an adviser, you can call their Helpline on 0845 302 02 03.

The helpline is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. (Closed weekends and bank holidays).