Caring for an Individual who has MS: Part 2
This week, Disability Living is exploring the strong individuals diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and celebrating the courageous caretakers who assist them.
While most people with MS are able to communicate fully, it is a good idea to be aware of the needs and struggles individuals with this affliction face.
In a previous post, we discussed how important it is for family caregivers and outside caretakers to help a person with MS accomplish tasks of mobility, cognitive functioning, and offsetting fatigue. Additionally, there are three more specific ways to care for a person with MS and increase his or her quality of life.
3 Ways to Care for a Person with MS
– Pain can be an unceasing problem for a person with MS. While levels of pain range from mild to severe, it is often frustrating and draining to experience these types of conditions day after day.
– Vision problems are a common symptom of MS. Unfortunately, it is reported that an individual’s sight can worsen during flare-ups. Overtime, multiple sclerosis relapses can ultimately reduce vision.
– Weakness is another multiple sclerosis symptom. If a person with MS gives into his or her weakness and remains immobile, then there can be serious complications, like losing a limb (often one or both legs).
10 Tips for Multiple Sclerosis Caretakers
If you are a family caregiver or outside caretaker of someone with multiple sclerosis, here are some tips that may assist you when attending to the pain, vision problems, and weakness of this individual.
1. When helping a person with MS manage his or her pain, it is important to encourage exercise, as this may help reduce or prevent this symptom.
2. Asking an individual to describe the pain he or she is experiencing on a scale of 1 to 10 helps you better know what you can do to help.
3. Don’t hesitate to contact a medical physician if the pain seems severe.
4. Avoid applying heat to areas the person with MS identifies as painful; this can make multiple sclerosis symptoms worse.
5. Choose colors, decorations, visual aids, and tech device screen settings only after consulting the individual, and getting a better idea of what helps him or her see best.
6. Keeping a clean and organized home ensures the person you care for knows the location of everything he or she wants and needs.
7. Set electronic screen options and buy books with large, clear font to make reading as simple as possible.
8. Know and practice how to move the person with MS safely in the rare case he or she suffers from a bout of severe weakness and needs to be moved.
9. Encourage physical therapy and learn simple exercises to practice at home.
10. Having a wheelchair on hand to aid anyone who suffers from severe multiple sclerosis symptoms is important in case of immobilizing weakness.
Multiple sclerosis is a serious diagnosis that needs medical treatment. In some situations, as the disease progresses, a full-time caretaker or family caregiver can ensure all the needs of the individual with MS are met.
Do you attend to the needs of a person with multiple sclerosis? If yes, are there additional tips you can add to the list above? We’d love to know what your struggles and successes are when managing symptoms of MS. Leave a reply below. As always, this is a safe place to share, and we value you taking the time to post a comment.
The National Benefit Authority is Canada’s leading service provider of the Disability Tax Credit, a disability program that offers financial support to people with medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis. We’ve helped over 40,000 Canadians successfully receive their Canadian disability benefits!