Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system. MS interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body and can cause vision loss, difficulty walking and debilitating fatigue, among other things. Multiple sclerosis typically starts between the ages of 28 and 35, but people of any age can be affected.
Providing emotional support and physical care to someone with MS is often deeply satisfying but can sometimes be overwhelming between balancing employment, child-rearing and increased responsibilities in the home. Just like any personal relationship, the needs and concerns of both partners must be addressed if the relationship is to remain healthy.
Here are some tips to take care of yourself as you care for someone else:
Learn about the disease
The more you know about MS, the more proactive you can be in your loved one’s treatment and care.
Connect with Others
Talking with other caregivers can make you feel like you’re not alone and can give you the opportunity to discuss solutions for MS-related issues.
Don’t Let Things Build Up
If you feel like you are experiencing burnout or if you are struggling with anxiety or grief, take immediate action by talking about your feelings with a trusted friend or therapist.
Ask for Help
You don’t have to do it all! Don’t be afraid to ask family, friends and neighbors to help with running errands, meal prep or chores that you don’t have as much time to do.
Don’t forget to care for yourself
Make sure to continue to take care of your own needs to stay healthy physically and emotionally. If you’re sick, you can’t take care of your loved one!