Caring for someone with a chronic illness like MS can be deeply satisfying. Partners, family, and friends can be drawn more closely together when they meet the challenges, but caregiving can also be physically and emotionally exhausting, especially for the person who is the primary caregiver. That person is most often a partner or spouse, but can also be a child, parent or friend.
Carepartners often feel like they should handle everything alone. Making time for yourself will ensure you are at your best when helping your partner. This could include taking time to do things you enjoy and getting support from others to help care for your partner. Time spent caring for yourself is not selfish. It will not detract from your care for a loved one with MS, but in fact will bolster the long-term success of the carepartnership as a whole.
If your loved one with MS needs full-time support while you take time away from home, ask family and friends for help. Other family members or friends are often willing — even pleased — to spend time with the person with MS, and many organizations have respite care programs. Contact an MS Navigator today to find respite care.
Learn more in our Guide for Support Partners, Carepartner Support Resource List and other publications.
You can best provide care for a loved one when your own health and wellness are adequately addressed. Pay attention to physical needs and changes, and keep up on preventive health measures like exercise, diet and regular medical examinations.
In a family affected by MS, everyone — carepartners in particular — may experience mood changes. Common feelings in carepartners include guilt, resentment and depression. Pay attention to changes in mood and to find an effective way to acknowledge feelings, maintain communication and seek help.
Time spent caring for yourself is not selfish. It will not detract from your care for a loved one with MS, but in fact will bolster the long term success of the carepartnership as a whole.