By Dr. Uchechi Wosu Isirimah – Owner | January 10, 2018
There are an estimated 2.3 million people in the world living with multiple sclerosis (MS). Many of them need assistance from a family caregiver to accomplish normal tasks of daily living. Because MS symptoms can change from day to day, it can be hard to be an MS caregiver. You may not know what to expect from one day to the next. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some strategies you can employ to be a better caregiver.
Below are some tips to help you with the responsibility.
Take Care of Yourself
You know how airline attendants tell you to put on your oxygen mask before helping the person next to you? Well, the same can be said for being an MS caregiver. You’ll need to look after your own physical and emotional health so that you can continue to be an effective caregiver. Continue to attend your regular medical appointments, eat well, and exercise. Also, you may find it helpful to join a caregiver support group.
Learn as much as you can about MS. There are several resources available on the Internet. The senior’s doctor may also be able to provide you with literature to read. In addition, consider contacting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to learn more about resources available to you and your loved one.
Avoid doing too much for the older adult. Allow them, and encourage them, to do as many things independently as they can. Look for technologies that allow the person to do things on their own. Or, devise methods that work for the senior. An occupational therapist may be able to help with strategies for independence.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Talk openly with your aging relative about their condition, their needs, and their wishes. Instead of taking over and doing a task that the person seems to be struggling with, ask if they want your help. In fact, ask questions about a lot of things. This can help you determine what kinds of things you should spend your energy on because they are important to the senior. It can also help you keep a more positive spin on your relationship with the person because they will know their input and desires are important to you.
Caring for someone with a chronic condition is hard work and you shouldn’t expect to do everything on your own. Ask friends and family members to help out where they can, even if it just gives you a few hours to yourself. You may also wish to consider hiring a home care provider. Home care providers can come to the older adult’s house as needed to care for them while you are at work, spending time with your spouse, or are otherwise engaged.
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