Multiple Sclerosis is a serious degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system and leads to increasing mobility issues, lack of balance and coordination, muscle soreness, and fatigue. However, despite these symptoms, it is still possible for your loved one to enjoy a good quality of life, and to live safely and comfortably at home. In this blog, we outline some of the ways in which your loved one can live better with MS, and how Home Care can help.
As advised by the John Hopkins Medical School, there are many steps a person with Multiple Sclerosis can take to ensure they live better with MS, even decades after an initial diagnosis.
Do More Than Manage Symptoms
Multiple Sclerosis has a wide range of symptoms, and faced with the diagnosis, you or your loved one might feel as if there is little you can do, apart from trying to manage or deal with those symptoms as they arise. It is important to remember that there is more to a person than their condition, and as outlined by the MS International Federation, it is possible to enjoy a good quality of life.
Tips to Ensure Your Loved One Can Live Better For Longer
Being proactive and considering “worst case” scenarios is a positive step towards living with Multiple Sclerosis. Discuss the situation with your loved one, and consider the likely consequences. Will your loved one have to give up working? Will a change in the home environment be required? If so, what changes can be made to the home environment to prevent fall risks and to help your loved one move around more easily? Will they be able to continue to live at home, alone, or will a family caregiver need to move in?
Whatever you see as your worst-case scenario, you can help your loved one start to live better by making plans for what you can both do, if and when that moment arrives.
Talk to your family about the role they can play, and consult with a Home Care company to see how they can assist with your loved one’s elder care; make plans to deal with the condition as soon as, or before, it begins to deteriorate. By involving your loved one in the discussion, you will be able to empower them to make choices that will impact their life, so they can continue to maintain their independence.
Encourage Your Loved One to Keep Up Personal Care
Continuing to look after your personal care is important in maintaining self-confidence and staying healthy. Mobility issues caused by Multiple Sclerosis can make it more difficult to complete daily activities including - washing, dressing, and meal preparation, so consider what your loved one is able to do on their own, and where a family caregiver can help.
As symptoms get worse, consider how a Home Care Aide can help. They can provide assistance with the daily tasks mentioned above, but can also help with light housekeeping, and transportation to appointments.
Far from taking away your loved one’s independence, practical and compassionate support helps them care for themselves, improving your mom or dad’s quality of life.
Review Your Loved One’s Insurance
While thinking ahead and making plans to cope with Multiple Sclerosis, consider your loved one’s insurance coverage. Check that their physician and any specialists overseeing their care are part of their plan or coverage, as well as any treatments or therapy they will receive. The National MS Society has tools for helping assess coverage, and find the gaps you need to fill. Knowing you have the coverage your loved one needs in place can help give peace of mind and help you plan for any increases in the level of care needed.
Make Sure Your Loved One Eats Well
Faced with a condition such as Multiple Sclerosis, many people might be tempted to forsake a healthy diet, but that is counterproductive. Instead, eating for optimal health is one of the most highly-suggested tactics to live better with MS. While there is no diet known to offset the disease or its symptoms, a low-fat diet that is high in fiber and nutrients, can improve energy levels and keep you healthy.
Eating well, according to Johns Hopkins Medical School, can also "be therapeutic for MS patients, since it can help them avoid metabolic syndrome, the all-too-common constellation of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, abdominal obesity and insulin resistance that puts patients at risk for developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions."
Help Your Loved One Stay Active
Though mobility issues will inhibit the level of exercise your loved one can take, regular light strengthening exercises can help them retain control over bodily functions. This can also reduce stress levels. A Home Care Aide can assist with physician-directed exercises, ensuring your loved one remains safe and comfortable at home.
You should also help your loved one focus on the things they can still do, rather than the things they can’t. If your mom or dad enjoys visits to the cinema or other cultural events, there is no reason why they can’t continue to pursue these interests outside of the home. Plan outings, activities and visits to friends and family, as you normally would, to show that your loved one’s Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis does not mean they have to change their lives dramatically.
If you are concerned about the mobility issues your loved one faces, or are unable to accompany them at times, discuss the benefits of hiring a Home Health Aide to provide the companionship that ensures they can move around safely, and the incidental transportation they need to stay active and involved in their community.
Build a Support Network
People with Multiple Sclerosis can benefit greatly from a strong support network. Family and friends can often provide much of the assistance and support you and your loved one need, but there are also many support groups available, such as the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. They can help both your loved one, and yourself, share experiences and tips on coping with the disease, learn more about the condition, and find ways to stay positive.
It is important to remember that your loved one’s quality of life does not have to suffer greatly when they are diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Similarly, if you are the family caregiver, you do not have to cope with this role on your own. If you don’t have a family network to assist you as your loved one’s condition deteriorates, or if you need help or respite, a Home Care company can provide the assistance you and your mom or dad require.
By arranging a needs assessment with a Home Care company, you can outline exactly what level of support and care your loved one requires to continue living an independent, rich life, for years to come.
Find out how Ezra Home Care can provide the experienced and compassionate care you need to help your loved one with Multiple Sclerosis enjoy a good quality of life by speaking with a dedicated member of our team.