A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) can be devastating for the older adults and frightening for their family and friends. But with wholehearted support you can meet the challenges and help your loved one manage the symptoms of the disease.
Caring for someone with multiple sclerosis can be challenging physically, mentally and emotionally. The disease can be unpredictable, that’s why it’s difficult to anticipate care needs. However, these tips might help you adjust better.
Help with daily living — You will need to take on more daily tasks, household chores like cleaning, cooking, shopping, laundry. You might also need to run errands and arrange transportation for your loved one.
Make adjustments at home — Even though encouraging your loved one to be more independent is great, there are still several adjustments that need to be made. You will need to do some research on equipment like a walker or wheelchair. You will need to rearrange your house, provide ramps, wider doorways, and bathroom equipment in order to help seniors stay safe and make it easier to get around.
Consider yourself part of the medical team — Learn as much as you can about MS.
You will need to keep track of medical appointments, monitor vitals, keep tabs on medication, help with managing depression, fatigue and weakness as well as help with injections, and look out for side effects.
Promote a healthy lifestyle — People with MS are advised to keep to a healthy diet. As a caregiver, you can join them. Create habits that bolster your and your loved one’s health, like exercising, cooking and eating healthy, spending more time outside, etc.
Expect the unexpected — The biggest challenge with MS is its unpredictability and uncertainty. What you do as a caregiver might even change daily. Learn to go with the flow. The key is to have the ability and willingness to be flexible and roll with whatever your role as a caregiver may bring.