Multiple Sclerosis has an obvious impact on the dynamic of family life. For the majority of the population, diagnosis is confirmed usually in the early stages of family life. Because of the implications of MS, it has the potential to diminish self-esteem.
MS is a shared illness amongst everyone in the family. Social aspects are important to everyone from the person living with MS, to their partners and children. When the person living with MS can no longer do the demands formerly placed upon them, family members have to pitch in, and at times, there are feelings of frustration, irritation, and guilt on everyone’s part. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution to this. There are, however, suggestions to help ease some of the burden and allow for open communication:
- Communicate your needs with family. Explain how you’re feeling, if you can or cannot participate in a scheduled activity.
- Plan ahead and make alternate arrangements, if necessary.
- When fatigue is an issue, set aside time for “rest” and also time to spend with your family choosing activities that are not physically demanding.
- Encourage frank and open discussion with your family so that they have the opportunity to discuss their concerns and fears.
- Plan sensibly for the future.
- Both the person living with MS as well as family members should participate in support groups.
Finally, there is no “best way” to deal with the social aspects of MS. Ultimately, what works for you and your family is truly the best decision. When there is open and honest communication amongst everyone concerned, it makes for a healthy and happy home life.