Family/Friends

Learning to Let Go

By: Jessica PetroffWhen you are first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it can be extremely overwhelming – not just for you, but also for your family and friends. At first, you try to learn as much as possible about MS, so you can be prepared to advocate for your health and answer questions from family and friends. (At least, that’s how I was and still am.)
Life With MS, Family-Friends

How to Support a Family Member with MS

By: Annie BrewsterI love my husband, but he is the king of putting his foot in his mouth. In the beginning of our relationship, it took me a while to gather enough courage to tell him about my multiple sclerosis. I was terrified that he would consider me damaged, or a high-risk investment given the very real possibility of significant disability in my future. I finally blurted it out on our third date, after a glass of wine at dinner. “Oh, I have a friend from college who died of that,” he said.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

Adapting to MS’ Parenting Challenges

By: Shelley Peterman SchwarzI was so naive and unprepared when I became a parent. I was completely overwhelmed by the 24/7 responsibility. And I certainly didn’t expect to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis! Every day, it seemed I lost physical abilities, and I didn’t have the energy or stamina of a normal 32-year-old mother. It was difficult and depressing for me, especially when I saw what other mothers were doing.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

Finding Your Holiday Cheer When You’re on Your Own

By: Emily Cade, M.S., CCM, CRC, CLCPWhen we think about the holidays, visions of grand meals with friends and family gathered around the table and bustling activities are usually the first visions to come to mind. While this vision is reality for many, there are others who experience less activity around the holidays. For people with chronic conditions, spending the holidays alone can be a struggle, but there are ways that you can make these times more enjoyable.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

Take the Daze Out of Holidays

By: Erika Bolin “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” the old song proclaims. But for many people with multiple sclerosis, the holidays may be one of the most stressful. Purchasing presents and organizing holiday get-togethers is not necessarily easy for anyone. But when you consider the fatigue and other symptoms people with MS face and the medical expenses involved in managing a chronic disease, the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day can be an added source of stress that can make living with MS more difficult.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

Our MS Superheroes Five unforgettable Tales of people fighting against MS

By: MSF staffForget Spiderman, Batman and the Avengers. We offer you real heroes fighting multiple sclerosis every day and contributing to the larger MS community. As part of the 2015 National MS Education and Awareness Month®, and with your help, the MSF set out to find them. And you came through. Dozens of worthy nominations were made in the MS Superhero Awards, making it difficult to pick just three winners.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

Intimacy and MS: Make It Your Own

By: Dan Digmann and Jennifer Digmann, MAFor most people living with multiple sclerosis, it’s easy to talk about the day you were diagnosed, symptoms leading up to your diagnosis, and experiences you’ve had with disease-modifying medicines. But the conversation can get quite complicated when questions are asked about intimacy and MS.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

6 Non-Sexual Intimacy Boosters

By: Gay FalkowskiWhile asking your doctor to treat sexual problems related to MS is important, it’s also helpful to know there are steps you can take outside of the bedroom or the doctor’s office to increase intimacy between you and your loved one.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

Talking About: Family Conversations

By: MSFocus staffSince MS is such a variable disease, needs are constantly changing. Ongoing family conversations are therefore going to be needed. Whenever there is a significant change in disease course or function, or if there is a change in the family that will impact family roles, another conversation needs to happen.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

When You Want to Help But Don't Know How

By: Jan GobenA writer with MS shares what she has learned from others as she gathers stories about supporting someone with a chronic illness.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

Forging a Better Understanding: What to Do When Aphasia Disrupts Communication

By: Lori Bartels-TobinAs a caregiver, you may have noticed times when your loved one with MS struggles to find the right words to say, or seems confused by what you are saying. The cause may be aphasia, a disorder resulting from damage to the cerebral cortex and affecting communication.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

Caregivers: Secure Your Own Oxygen Mask First

By: MSF StaffIf you are caring for a loved one with MS who is significantly disabled, you are probably facing some serious daily challenges. In fact, you may be so overwhelmed with responsibilities that you haven’t even considered your own mismanaged stress, poor diet, physical inactivity, unrecognized or undiagnosed depression, denial, fear, isolation, loneliness, or grief – all of which increase your risk for future health problems.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

Bathing Basics for Caregivers

By: MSF StaffThose who require assistance with the intimate task of bathing may experience a myriad of feelings such as modesty, shame, vulnerability, sadness, or low self-esteem. As a caregiver, you can empower your care-receiver to overcome these negative feelings by learning all the right moves. By knowing what to do and how to do it, you can make bathing a positive experience.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

The Irony of Caregiver Guilt

By: Gary BargAfter eight years of taking care of both of her parents by herself, Mary had a stroke. The stroke affected her mobility and leg strength, but most importantly to Mary, it meant her caregiving days were over. Her doctor said if she went back to full-time, around-the-clock caregiving, she would likely predecease her 86- and 89-year-old parents.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

For Family and Friends: How You Can Help

By: Adapted from the works of Sherri L. ConnellWhen a person has a chronic illness, they are forced to give up countless dreams from losing a career to the inability to complete simple daily tasks. The independence they had all of their lives is suddenly gone and they are left with the struggle of needing help, yet, feeling like a burden if they ask for it; besides, if they do find the courage to call, it will inevitably be a bad time for you. A person with a chronic illness will tell you how you can help, if you simply listen.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

Caregiving: Understanding Resistance

By: MSF StaffWe live in a culture that reinforces the belief that it is better to give than to receive. As a result, caring for another human being is seen as a selfless, loving and generous act. Being needed by another person provides a sense of purpose, and enhances self-esteem.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

A Lifesaver For Caregivers

By: MSF StaffOn December 21, 2006, the president signed the Lifespan Respite Care Act of 2006 (HR 2348) into law, finally acknowledging the millions of Americans caring for a loved one in the home.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

The "Must Have" Legal Documents For You and Your Loved Ones

By: Valerie L. Peterson, Esq.A durable power of attorney, a healthcare surrogate, and living will allow you to have a say in who is appointed to care for your health and finances if you are incapacitated.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

MS in the House: Putting the Unwelcome Intruder in It's Place Keeps Family in Balance

By: MSF Staff and reviewed by the MSF Advisory BoardWhile the biggest effect of a MS diagnosis strikes the person receiving the news, the ripple effect of that diagnosis can throw even the most stable families off balance. Routines change, roles shift, relationships revise – there’s no denying when MS is in the house.
Life With MS, Family-Friends

Alone with MS: The Symptom People Don't Talk About

By: Erika BolinIt’s hard enough to hear the words, “You have multiple sclerosis.” For so many the next thought is, “Who can I turn to for support? Who is going to be there for me?”
Life With MS, Family-Friends