What to Do If an Elderly Relative is Newly Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
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What to Do If an Elderly Relative is Newly Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Receiving the news that a relative has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis [MS] can be highly stressful and confusing. MS is an often-debilitating neurological disorder. However, there are many avenues of support available to help manage both symptoms and care. If you have a loved one who has recently been diagnosed with MS, you may not be sure how to respond. Learn more about MS and how it can impact your loved one as well as how you can best offer support to a loved one with a recent MS diagnosis. 

Understanding MS

MS is an autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system. It affects over 2 million people around the world, and it is most commonly diagnosed in adults between the ages of 20-40. Symptoms can range from fatigue to vision loss and mobility issues. 

Because the disease has no known cause or cure, the prognosis varies greatly depending on the severity of symptoms as well as lifestyle habits and available treatments. Generally speaking, however, with proper treatment life expectancy increases dramatically for those living with this condition. Potential factors involving the development of MS may include genetics, diet, and other environmental elements that contribute to inflammation within the body.  

Providing Support for a Loved One Recently Diagnosed with MS

Once your family member is diagnosed with MS, it's important to provide support and education. Start by educating yourself about the condition so that you can better assess how best to care for and advocate for them going forward. Seek out resources from reliable sources including online support groups, neurologists, or other medical professionals specializing in MS treatment and management. In particular, talking to another person who has experience living with the diagnosis will provide invaluable insight on managing lifestyle changes required over time as well as advice on day-to-day symptom relief strategies.

Once you have an understanding of what needs are ahead for your relative, listen carefully when they tell you what satisfies their individual needs. Every person's circumstances are different and everyone faces unique challenges due to their diagnosis. Allow your loved one to provide those critical insights into their individual conditions. 

Managing Care for a Loved One with MS

In-home senior care is a beneficial way to help manage day-to-day medical needs, household duties, and daily tasks. An experienced caregiver can provide strain relief for your loved one as they recover from MS flare-ups or assist with symptom management when necessary. 

Besides in-home senior care, you may also want to investigate additional resources such as financial assistance programs that offer extra funding during times of increased need due to health complications related to MS. Every state offers different options. Make sure you do your research, including talking to your loved one's doctor about available options. 

Look into respite services if the full-time demands of providing care become overwhelming. Respite services alleviate stress burdens often suffered by primary caregivers and provide much needed rest periods. 

Do You Need Help Caring for a Loved One with MS?

Having the right help on hand can make a big difference for caregivers in the Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero, and Marco Island areas as they care for senior loved ones with MS. At Senior Helpers Bonita Springs, we offer a variety of care options, including respite care and help with the tasks of daily living. Contact us today to learn how we can serve as a beneficial resource for loved ones suffering from a variety of conditions, including MS.