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Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding and Living
with the Disease

By Sandra Ray, Staff Writer

(Page 4 of 4)

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (www.natioanlmssociety.org) has an excellent website with educational links for both the patient and the family member. While most people with MS can still take care of their daily needs, there is the possibility that individuals will need help with specific tasks. Caregiving can take its toll on young couples and relationships, so it is important to find support and keep communications flowing.

Parents who have MS may need help talking to their children about the disease and how it affects the family unit. Children are remarkably resilient, but they may ask for news of the disease, even if there are no visible symptoms. The National MS Society has a special corner for children that includes educational games and resources that parents can use to help the family better understand the disease. There are also local chapters of the national office that can work with individuals.
Other resources in the community may be needed to provide care during flare-ups or as the disease progresses. These may include home health care agencies, support groups,low-cost medical care for those who need health insurance (or who may have lost it recently due to a job change or loss), and even caregiver respite care. In more than 75 percent (and growing) of the U.S., 2-1-1 is the phone number to call to locate community-based organizations. To find out if there is a 2-1-1 located in your community, search www.211.org. The website has a search engine using zip code, city or state to find the agency that serves a specific area.

The bottom line to living with a chronic disease like MS is to understand as much as possible about the disease and how it affects someone. Since the disease strikes when someone is young, the impact on relationships can be far-reaching. Open communication will help the patient formulate a plan of action and make informed choices concerning their care. This same communication can help facilitate support for the patientís extended support network.

 

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