5 Ways to Provide Support for Someone With Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis can occur when you don’t expect it and finding out that you or your loved one has this condition can be really terrifying. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic progressive disorder in which the immune system attacks the nervous system. This leads to vision problems, muscle weakness, digestive dysfunction, disability, and many other issues.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, more than 2.3 million people around the world suffer from multiple sclerosis. Most people develop the condition at the age of 20 to 50. You might know someone who has multiple sclerosis.
Life quality of a person with multiple sclerosis largely depends on social support. According to a study published in the European Journal of Neurology, social support was so important to people with multiple sclerosis that scientists recommended that people be asked about their level of support, among other factors, when they see their doctor. If your loved one has already received a multiple sclerosis diagnosis, you can use these tips to help your loved one live a happy and full life:
Treat your loved one the same as you always have
One of the most essential things you can do is to treat your friend or loved one with multiple sclerosis or another neurological condition as a strong person who is able to make decisions and provide self-care. You shouldn’t be afraid to talk about your own problems since any healthy relationship means both give and take. You might think that speaking about your problems with your friend or loved one who has multiple sclerosis would be burdening them, however, it’s unlikely they’d feel that way.
Offer to help with everyday activities
Oftentimes, people with multiple sclerosis struggle to do regular things such as cooking, walking, cleaning, and using the bathroom. Daily routine becomes the biggest challenge. Therefore, offering to help with everyday activities can be really useful to your loved one.
Depending on the degree of MS progression, a person might not need help if they were recently diagnosed, but your gesture will have a big effect. You will let them know that you’re always there if they need your help in the future.
Learn more about multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis can provoke different symptoms in different people. While some MS signs can be noticeable, for instance, weakness or tremors, other symptoms might be felt only by the person having them like pain, numbness, tingling, dizziness, vision issues, or emotional problems. Of course, neurological rehab can be effective at improving MS symptoms, but it might not help everyone.
You can use some approved resources on the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s websites for learning more about multiple sclerosis and ask your loved one or friend with MS what they are going through. There might be no way for you to know exactly what people with MS are going through, however, making the effort to try can make a big difference.
Be understanding and flexible
People with multiple sclerosis often suffer from fatigue even after a full night’s sleep. Understanding that fatigue can make it difficult for the person you love to do the daily activities you had planned helps a great deal. Being okay if they have to cancel on you is extremely important. People with multiple sclerosis might have good days and bad days, and it’s unpredictable.
Keep in mind that there’s a lot of uncertainty with MS
Multiple sclerosis affects people differently and leads to different symptoms and their severity might also differ. Symptoms include dizziness, imbalance, weakness, cognitive impairment, and vision problems. Therefore, it’s crucial for loved ones to be aware of the variability and changes that can happen with symptoms. Also, people with MS can choose medications they will be treated with, which means that they can experience different side effects. Keep in mind that multiple sclerosis is a very complicated and changeable disease.