Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in the (CNS) central nervous system. In summary, in someone with MS, the body will attack the myelin sheath, the special protective membrane coating the spinal cord and nerve endings, which can lead to many impairments and bodily functions being affected.
Multiple sclerosis can be an extremely challenging condition, and one that you need to deal with as quickly as possible. The truth is that managing multiple sclerosis can be very tricky, and it gets even harder when you care for people that have multiple sclerosis. You need to take good care of them, and there are a lot of things to consider. Here are some of the most important symptoms to look out for and methods to keep in mind when you take care of people with multiple sclerosis.
Common multiple sclerosis symptoms
There are a multitude of multiple sclerosis symptoms, some of which are more common than others:
- Tremors may appear when the person tries to move a limb, and they are connected with muscle spasticity.
- Swallowing difficulties can appear when the person with multiple sclerosis tries to eat or drink anything.
- Incontinence can appear over time, when the multiple sclerosis progresses people end up with a loss of bowel and bladder functions.
- Fatigue is important because it’s a very common multiple sclerosis characteristic and it comes from exhausted muscles, an overworked brain and so on.
- Coordination problems tend to get worse with multiple sclerosis, and that’s why mobility aids are recommended.
- Then there’s impaired vision, where the person has vision loss, a reduction in depth perception and many others vision impairments may arise.
Perform the necessary adjustments
A very good idea is to offer your loved one the tools and equipment that they need. A good option here is to get a wheelchair or a walker, depending on the situation. Remove any tripping hazards and make sure that the bathroom and kitchen equipment are easy to access. The more changes you make, the better the results you can get.
It’s imperative to monitor visuals like oxygen saturation levels, temperature, blood pressure, pain levels and so on. If you see that the person with multiple sclerosis is not feeling well, you must contact a doctor as fast as possible to avoid any further complication.
As we mentioned above, the symptoms differ, but incontinence can be a problem and you have to tackle it the best way that you can. Talk with a doctor about incontinence issues and find solutions like wipes or underpads. They will take a bit of time to adapt properly, but it will certainly be worth the effort.
As time goes by, people with multiple sclerosis will end up with the inability to move very well. A healthy nutrition plan, good hygiene and daily body scans are a priority if you want to prevent bedsores. These issues appear all the time, and you need to try to find a way to eliminate them naturally and at the best possible level. It will be well worth it in the end when it comes to the happiness and health of the person you’re caring for.
Helping with the day to day tasks
Since your loved one has multiple sclerosis, it’s imperative to handle as many of their daily tasks as you can. That means you must run errands and arrange transportation for your loved one. That might also include cooking, cleaning, laundry and shopping, among others. Even dressing, toileting and bathing or feeding can become mandatory when you’re caring for people with multiple sclerosis.
Add as many mobility features as possible
The reason you want to do this is because they will help your loved one with multiple sclerosis move easier within your home. Things like hand rails, mobility aids and even a lift can really make a huge difference. We recommend you to take your time and use this as an advantage, as it has the potential to help you more than you might imagine. Take that into consideration and don’t hesitate to include any mobility features anywhere they would be needed.
One thing to note about multiple sclerosis patients is that they can deal with depression, anxiety, loneliness, chronic illnesses and so on. They need to be with someone that helps them. Social isolation is bad for them, and that’s why you need to be there for them. Mental support is extremely important when you know someone that has multiple sclerosis. Offering them assistance and being there as much as possible can be a huge difference. It will show that you care for them and you want to assist the best way that you can. It’s not an easy thing to achieve, but it will show the true importance of having someone you love in these harsh times.
Fighting weakness and fatigue
If you are a caregiver for a person with multiple sclerosis, then it makes a lot of sense to do whatever you can in order to offer the best assistance. It’s a challenge, but you can do it properly and results will be very good. You need to help with swimming, yoga, walking and other low impact exercises. These are great for any multiple sclerosis patient, as it will bring in an easier way to solve stay in shape and eliminate unwanted issues!
When the sheath that protects nerves affects bladder functions, your loved one will have difficulties urinating properly. Some of the issues can be constant discomfort, the bladder can either be overactive or lazy, and that can lead to leaking for example. Being there for your loved one and offering support to go to the bathroom when needed is imperative and it will make a huge difference if you do it right.
Try to promote a healthy lifestyle
A good option here is to try and help your loved one improve their diet naturally. Trying to find ways to improve habits that improve your loved one’s health can make a huge difference. Things like exercising and cooking will help immensely, and they will provide a lot more control.
Overseeing medical care
Since your loved one has multiple sclerosis, you want to make sure that they are taken care of medically as well as possible. That means you must take good care of their medical appointments, not to mention keeping good tabs on medication. On top of that, you may even have to help with injections. Even if you’re not really a part of the medical team, you will offer support And confidence and that will help immensely!
It’s ok to expect the unexpected
You need to realize that multiple sclerosis is very strange and it ends up being quite complex and tricky at the same time. What we recommend you to do is to always prepare for the unexpected. Some people with MS have relapses, sometimes they are ok and other times they are not. That’s why expecting anything will prepare you quite a lot, and provide the best possible care for whoever it is you are caring for.
We recommend you to take your time and learn about the condition as you try to take care of people with multiple sclerosis. Re-adapting the entire home, making the necessary changes and being there for your loved one can indeed make a huge difference. Yes, it’s not an easy thing to achieve, but if you do it right, the outcome can be well worth it!
For more information on multiple sclerosis there are a number of sources that can aid you in recognizing symptoms or methods to care for someone with the disorder.
Such as the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/multiple-sclerosis/
And the MS society: https://www.mssociety.org.uk/about-ms/what-is-ms
Finally you can check out our other blogs and articles here.