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MS Article or Multiple Sclerosis Article:

MS Caregiver: Finding Ways To Help

When You Are A Caregiver

With Multiple Sclerosis

Being a caregiver by itself can be a challenge, but being a MS caregiver, or a caregiver, who has Multiple Sclerosis, presents so many more challenges than it would otherwise.

An interesting phenomena is occurring around the world, as a larger percentage of people in many more different countries around the world are living longer lives and as the number of people entering later stages of life is increasing as more of the "baby boomer" generation approaches retirement age.

This often means that as more of the aging population develop health conditions that require more assistance for performing every day tasks, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson, different forms of dementia or cancer, more and more of the younger generations are finding themselves in more of a care giver role.

The dilemma that can occur is that as more and more younger people are diagnosed with more severe cases of diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, the younger generations that are expected to be caregivers may find that they themselves need more assistance too, which presents more of a challenge just to find some way for all involved to make it through each day.

Since Multiple Sclerosis tends to be diagnosed between the ages of early twenties to early or mid-thirties, this means that the generation that often becomes the care givers of their aging parents, may become disabled enough themselves that they may also need some one to help take care of them for daily assistance to perform daily tasks, like cooking meals, taking a shower or bath, changing clothes or feeding themselves.

The challenges that this type of situation can present is becoming more of a common occurrence than it had just 10 to 20 years ago.

What can the caregiver do, that is also dealing with symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?  Are there any helpful suggestions that can give some insight into ways to reduce the problems that this can present to those of us who are a MS caregiver or a care giver with Multiple Sclerosis.

I, myself, understand this type of dilemma, since I have battled with a severe case of Multiple Sclerosis for 13 years, and at the same time I have had to be a caregiver to help with my father, who has developed a form of dementia, that is gradually becoming worse over time.  My mother can't handle taking of both me and my father at the same time.

But, as I have found alternative and natural ways that are helping me to function better gradually over time, I have found that I am able to do so much more to help my mother to care for my father with dementia.

It is not an easy task, but there a few things that I have found that have been able to make my job as a caregiver so much easier.

Because I am a caregiver with Multiple Sclerosis, I understand the challenges that this can present.  My father has dementia that is becoming worse over time.  Somehow I have to find a way to help my mother to take care of both me and my father, since I am considered disabled because of Multiple Sclerosis.

Although I have found ways that are helping to reduce the effects of Multiple Sclerosis on my body, I am still a full time caregiver and that doesn't stop, even when I am not having a "good day" because of the adverse effects of Multiple Sclerosis on my body.

But I do have a few suggestions of ways that I have found that help to reduce the stress that I feel, reduce the MS fatigue and to help me to function better so that I am able to help my parents much more than I would be able to do otherwise.

My suggestions to make things easier for you, who is the MS caregiver or a caregiver with Multiple Sclerosis, includes the following:

* Plan ahead as much as possible.

This goes a long way in helping to reduce the fatigue that can accompany many cases of Multiple Sclerosis.  Rushing around at the last minute doesn't help anybody.  Rushing around is worse for those of us with Multiple Sclerosis, so avoid it as much as you can.

*  Break things down into smaller tasks.

If you need to, rest between each smaller task that you find that you need to do throughout the day.  This is okay if you need to take breaks between things.  This helps to reduce the exhaustion that often accompanies being a caregiver with MS.

*  Take care of yourself as much as possible each day to ease the stress on your body and reduce potential MS attacks.

If you don't take care of yourself first, you can't help anyone else either.  You are only able to function if you do what you can to get more rest, to eat right to help give you more energy, to exercise when you can to help rebuild your stamina, and to de-stress through meditation or or other methods that help to reduce the amount that your nervous system has to deal with on a daily basis.  Taking vitamins, herbs and other supplements can also help reduce vitamin deficiencies and can help to boost your immune system to reduce how often you yourself get sick from infections of all kinds.

* Take a break from being a caregiver when you can.

Find someone that can help be a caregiver in your place for a few hours or for a day to give you a break.  If you can afford it, higher someone through a temporary agency or a place that provides home health aids to help give you a break periodically.

* Divide up your day - all work and nothing else, creates a more stressful environment for you, as a caregiver.

Mix up the things that you do during each day, so that you do something during the day that you consider to be more fun or more enjoyable for you.  After all, you need to feel like you have worth and your life has some meaning other than becoming a work horse only.

Schedule this if you need to - since it is very important that you take breaks from being a caregiver to prevent burn-out!

* Find ways to de-stress as much as possible.

This sounds like a no-brainer, but I have found, that from personal experience, that this is much easier said than done.

Putting on music that you enjoy, while doing whatever else your daily caregiver schedule seems to demand of you, taking time to take a few deep breaths and relax, find ways to make things more of a labor of love instead of a dreaded task, as well as whatever else you can think of that might help reduce the internal stress that you may feel at times can help tremendously in reducing the toll that the daily grind can take on your system and help to reduce Multiple Sclerosis attacks, relapses and exacerbations.

* Share the caregiver role with brothers, sisters and other relatives as much as you can.  You can't do everything by yourself

Multiple Sclerosis can present major challenges on its own, but adding the responsibility of being the MS caregiver or caregiver with Multiple Sclerosis for your aging parents or other relatives that also have declining health can add so much more responsibility that may be more than you can handle on your own.

We do the best that we can to help our families, our friends and other relatives as much as we can.

That is a good thing in itself for us to help as much as we can, since it gives us more purpose to our lives too, but balancing all of our responsibilities along with the physical challenges that can be present with many cases of Multiple Sclerosis can reduce how well we function or maybe even how much we can help others in our families that also need our help.

Don't beat yourself up emotionally when you aren't functioning as well some days because of the effects of the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, but rather remind yourself that you are a person too and you are helping where ever you can.

Sometimes, that's the best we can do and we have to find ways to feel good about what we can do, instead of beating ourselves up for what we are sometimes not able to do.

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