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Tips for MS Caregivers

October 13, 2015

A Multiple Sclerosis caregiver’s job is to always provide the emotional and physical support that a patient needs. This job has the potential to be 24/7/365 and at certain points can be very overwhelming. However, there are certain precautions that you can take to make both your job and your patient’s life more pleasurable.

Study MS early and often. All caregivers should educate themselves about the disease to the point, where they could be considered an expert. If your family member is diagnosed, begin studying even if they aren’t showing much as far as symptoms. This could change in a matter of moments and it is important to be prepared. Any caregiver should check out all of the latest multiple sclerosis news periodically.

Be honest with each other. A trying disease such as MS can take its toll on finances, emotions, family life and add unnecessary stress. It’s important to not leave any feelings bottled up on either side. Putting everything out in the open may be hard but your relationship will be stronger because of it. Remember that you are a team, and any great team communicates with each other on a daily basis.

Get support when you need it. It is okay to ask for help. Caregiving should not ALWAYS be a one person job. Ask for assistance with something that is out of your element. There are also caregiver support groups that meet right in your area. Attend one once in a while or even go to every single meeting. You can ask questions, air grievances and pick the brains of others who have done it successfully for a long time. You will leave the meeting with valuable knowledge and a new appreciation for the job.

Be sure to have time to yourself. As with any job it is also important to unwind. Your patient needs you but only if you are in the proper mental and physical state. Many caregivers are so engulfed with their work that they fail to exercise and eat properly. Take care of your body and find the time to be active the same way your patient has to. Taking a walk/jog or cooking a healthy recipe could be something that is done together, as a bonding experience.