Family Matters - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Family Matters

MS happens to families, not just to individuals. Learn about the variety of resources available for you and your family.

Diagnosed in 2002


Programs and Services for the Whole Family

Programs and Services for the Whole Family

An interview with Nancy Law and a carepartner describing the Society programs and services available to family members.

In this article

For families

MS happens to families, not just to individuals. When a person is diagnosed with MS, there is immediate impact on all who love them. Family members may experience similar emotions to the person with MS as they adapt to MS in their lives –fear, guilt, anger, denial, grief, anxiety.

You probably have many questions about MS – what will happen to my family member with MS, how can we plan, how do we manage the unpredictability of the disease?

The National MS Society is here to help you navigate the challenges of living MS with a personalized response to your unique needs. Our MS Navigators can answer your questions and access information about the options available to you. We are your partner in your journey living with this disease.

For carepartners

Caring for someone with a chronic illness like MS can be deeply satisfying. Spouses, partners, family and friends can be drawn more closely together by their shared concerns and collaborative efforts.

But being a carepartner can also be physically and emotionally exhausting, particularly for the primary carepartner. While this is most often a partner or spouse, the primary carepartner may also be an adult child, parent or friend. Whoever you are, remember that paying attention to your own health and well-being is essential to being able to care for someone else.

While younger children sometimes assume significant responsibilities when a parent has disability due to MS, they should never be called upon to provide a parent’s personal care. Contact an MS Navigator if you need help identifying carepartner resources in your community and download this resource guide.

For children and teens

A parent’s diagnosis of MS can have a significant impact on children and teens. Children have their own set of unique concerns, fears and questions regarding MS that are important to address. The brochure When a Parent Has MS: A Teenager's Guide (.pdf) is a good tool to open communication with your teen.  Keep S’myelin is a newsletter for children between the ages of 5-12, full of articles and activities. 

Get the answers and support you need

We offer an extensive variety of programs, services and resources for you and your family. These resources can be accessed in person, online, by phone and by mail. To learn more, contact an MS Navigator at 1-800-344-4867, by e-mail or on our Ask an MS Navigator discussion board.



Family Matters Group

A community for everyone, including partners, parents, kids, brothers, sisters, grandparents and more – the whole family, in whatever way you define it – affected by multiple sclerosis.

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Family Self Advocacy

Tools to explore and address a variety of issues which may arise within the family context.

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