Caring for someone with a chronic illness like MS can be deeply satisfying. Spouses and 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.
The National MS Society offers information and support to help you with your role as carepartner:
- Visit our National Website to learn more about help at home, long term services, information for families, and support available to you.
- Read our literature, including Maximizing Independence, Caring for Loved Ones with Advanced MS and A Guide for Caregivers
- Get connected with other caregivers. Some of our communities have self-help groups that focus on the caregiver.
Take Time for Yourself
- A person living with MS needs a healthy person to be their carepartner. This means eating right, getting exercise, making regular medical check-ups, finding an emotional outlet, and finding outside activities.
- Respite Care is an option to help you get a break. Respite Care is a service in which trained professionals or volunteers come into the home or facility to provide short-term care (from a few hours to a few days), allowing carepartners some time away from their caregiving role. Home care includes a wide range of health-related services such as assistance with medications, wound care, intravenous (IV) therapy, and help with basic needs such as bathing, dressing, and mobility, which are delivered at a person's home. The website www.respitelocator.org lists local referrals.
Adult Day Services are a cost-effective care option that either allows a carepartner to remain in the workforce, or receive a needed temporary respite. They provide a program of activities, health monitoring, socialization, and assistance with daily activities during the day, so that the individual can continue to live in their homes and receive needed care in a supportive, professionally staffed, community-based setting. Contact an MS Navigator for a referral (800-344-4837, option 1), or the National Adult Day Services Association (877-745-1440, nasda.org/consumers).