A care partner may be one of your greatest allies. In many cases, it’s a spouse, parent, extended family member, or close family friend. By working together, you may be better able to handle the unique challenges of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Helping with daily chores and activities is just part of what care partners do. They may also provide physical care and emotional support. They can walk with you if you need a hand, and lift you up with encouraging words if you’re having a bad day. Caring for someone with MS can be a deeply moving and satisfying experience.
One of the best ways to build upon your relationship with your care partner is to talk openly with each other. It may be difficult for others to truly know what it’s like to have MS, so it’s important you tell your care partner how you are feeling and what you are going through. Let your care partner voice his or her concerns and questions—this way, he or she can provide better support. By communicating freely with each other, you may avoid misunderstandings and work better together to achieve your goals.
Providing constant emotional support and physical care can be quite overwhelming. In many cases, care partners have little or no time for their own needs and may begin to feel it’s too much. All care partners should consider taking a break when necessary to avoid “burning out” and take time for themselves. Care partners can get together with family or friends to talk and blow off steam, or see a therapist for emotional support if needed.
There are many sources for care partners to turn to for information and support. A good place to start is the caregiver section of the National MS Society website. There, you’ll find links to helpful caregiver guides, support groups, and other valuable resources.