Learning that your loved one has been diagnosed with a medical condition can be a stressful experience. Moreover, it can be overwhelming, especially if they have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is an autoimmune disease that damages the sheaths of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, over 2.8 million people worldwide are affected by MS
Multiple Sclerosis, with the majority of them diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50 years. In this article, we will discuss some of the best ways to help provide support to a loved one with multiple sclerosis.
Table of Contents
1. Learn About Multiple Sclerosis
If your loved one has been diagnosed with MS, one of the first steps to take is to learn more about MS. As a friend or family member, it will help if you gain an understanding of the changes that a person with MS will experience, including its symptoms, complications, and even the emotional changes that it may bring. This way, you can gain a better understanding of their condition and become aware of the level of support they may need.
2. Be Flexible
People with MS may experience varying symptoms, which can sometimes be unpredictable. In dealing with this progressive disease,
the best thing that you can do for a loved one diagnosed with MS is to offer it is important to be flexible and show understanding, especially on their ‘bad days’, when they require more care.
3. Avoid Treating Them Differently
While MS may bring changes to your loved one’s life and well-being, your support and engagement with them should not change. It is important to continue to support and engage with your loved one the way you always have, to avoid making them feel that any changes are based on their condition and capabilities.
4. Support Their Need for a Healthy Lifestyle
It is important for people with MS to try and maintain a healthy lifestyle. When it is difficult for them to commit to it, you can support your loved one by offering positive encouragement. This can include helping them enjoy a healthy diet, particularly foods that are low in fat and high in fibre and vitamins. In addition, you can help them commit to regular exercise by presenting options that they can try such as yoga, aquatic exercises, and adaptive tai chi.
5. Offer Emotional Support
In addition, it is also important to help support the emotional health of your loved one. It is common among people with chronic conditions such as MS to experience depression, grief, and mood changes. Supporting their emotional health can help them cope better. Providing emotional support can be as simple as active listening and validating their emotions.
6. Know When to Offer Help
People with MS can sometimes find carrying out daily activities and simple tasks such as walking and personal care challenging. While you may want to take the initiative to help, it is important to first check if they need it. Sometimes people want to remain independent in carrying out their tasks. However, it is important to make sure that b your loved one is safe and is not at risk of injury.
A person diagnosed with MS may feel discouraged by their diagnosis. During this trying time, it is important for them to know about the services and supports they can receive. It is also important for you to learn and understand how you can help and support them to maintain their quality of life.
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