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Caregiver’s Guide to Caring for a Loved One With MS

By Daryl H. Bryant (453 words)
Posted in Living with MS on October 6, 2016

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 Caregiver’s Guide to Caring for a Loved One With MS

Caring for a loved one with MS can be overwhelming. Because MS affects each person uniquely, it’s difficult to know what tomorrow will hold. No amount of research can tell you which challenges you will or will not face on this journey, but there are things you can do to make caring for a loved one with MS less challenging.

Read on for our caregiver’s guide to caring for a loved one with MS.

Take Care of Yourself

No caregiver’s guide would be complete without this advice; take care of yourself. You will only be capable of caring for your loved one if you are doing well yourself. You can’t draw water from an empty well. Make sure you are taking care of your own well-being. This includes more than just your physical health. Your mental and emotional health are equally important. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do something that makes you happy or get more sleep. You’ll be surprised how much of a positive impact such a simple change can make.

Respect Your Loved One’s Independence

One of the hardest things about having MS, or any disease for that matter, is losing your independence. While many people with MS are 100% independent all or most of the time, other struggle with at least occasional periods of time where they have to rely on others around them. Still, your loved one may not need as much help as you think. Helping too much is detrimental to your loved one’s pride, but it is also bad for their health. Being active is important for people with MS, and if you do everything for your loved one, you will rob them of opportunities for movement as well as their independence.

Ask for Feedback

Every person needs different care - not only because of their individual needs, but also because of their individual personalities. Some people will ask for help when they need it; others will never ask unless you offer. The best thing you can do for your loved one with MS is ask for feedback about how you are helping. You can ask about how you can improve generally or better yet, ask about specific tasks while you are doing them. Know that no caregiver is 100% perfect, so if your loved one gives you suggestions for how you could improve, try not to take it personally.

Caring for a loved one with MS may be stressful, but you don’t have to lose yourself in it. Take time for yourself and keep doing your best. Your loved one is lucky to have you in his or her life, not just because you are a caregiver, but because they love you too.

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