How to make life better for people with MS

MS can be tough to deal with, especially when you are newly diagnosed. However, it is possible to live well with MS. There is lots of support available and new treatments are being developed all the time.

As it is MS Awareness Week, we have put together some tips that can help you live better with MS.

1. Learn as much as you can about MS

The first step in living well with MS is to learn as much as possible about the condition. There are several different types of MS and symptoms can vary from person to person. Learning as much as you can about your MS, and the treatments and lifestyle changes that can help, will ensure you live as well as possible.

2. Get the healthcare support you need

There is a range of medical and healthcare professionals who can support you in living well with MS. Your GP can refer you to these professionals so that you have a care team to support you in a range of ways. As well as a neurologist who specialises in MS you may also benefit from:

  • A physical therapist to help you work on your strength, coordination and motor skills
  • A psychologist or counsellor to help you cope with living with MS
  • An occupational therapist to help you manage day to day tasks
  • A dietitian to help you maintain a healthy diet
  • A speech and language therapist if you are having difficulties with speech, swallowing, or breathing
  • A social worker if you need help with benefits, finances or accessing services.

You should ensure you have regular reviews of your treatment and care. These reviews are an opportunity for you to discuss any concerns you have, as well as to identify what other support you might need. Your care team can also keep you up to date with new treatments as they become available.

3. Make use of other sources of support

As well as having good healthcare professionals to support you in living well with MS you can also make use of other sources of support. It can be really helpful to build relationships with other people living with MS. This can help you feel less alone with your diagnosis and you can also share hints and tips.

There are many MS support groups and buddy schemes. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS Trust and the MS Society offer great advice and support.

4. Stay as active as possible

Regular exercise is an essential part of living well with MS. Exercise can help you maintain muscle strength, build endurance and keep your bones strong. In addition, exercise can boost your mood. Taking appropriate exercise can also help ward off fatigue.

A physical therapist can help you create an exercise plan that is suitable for you.

5. Create a good sleep routine

One of the symptoms of MS that many people find difficult to cope with is fatigue. A good sleep regime can help with this. Try to go to bed at the same time each day as this can help you get to sleep more easily. Avoiding caffeine in the late afternoon and evening can promote sound sleep, too. Consider creating a wind-down routine to help you relax ready for sleep. You might like to have a warm bath, listen to music, read for a while or perhaps have a warm drink.

6. Eat a healthy diet

Good nutrition is another cornerstone of living well with MS. Try to eat a diet that is high in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins. Of course, the occasional treat is also fine.

7. Focus on your emotional wellbeing

Living with MS can be very challenging. You may find that you experience stress, depression and anxiety. These are perfectly natural feelings. You may want to get support from a counsellor or a support group to help you adapt to the changes MS has brought to your life.

As well as taking care of yourself physically, there are many ways to boost your mood and help you stay positive. Spending time with friends and family, engaging in hobbies and practising relaxation or mindfulness are just some of the activities that may help you live well with MS.

8. Adapt your home and work environment

You can make your life easier by adapting your environment to make household chores and work less difficult. For example, you may benefit from single lever taps, a shower bench, extra bannisters or handrails. If you use a wheelchair, your home may need to be adapted to make it possible for you to move around.

An occupational therapist can do an assessment to see what might be suitable for you. You can get help with any building works that are necessary from your local authority.

You may also need some adaptations made to your work environment. These might include a stool or chair, extra breaks, or items such as an anti-glare screen on your computer or an ergonomic mouse. You should speak to your employer about changes that can be made to help you at work.

9. Stay positive

Although there is no cure for MS, there are many new treatments that can slow down the progression of the disease. Research is ongoing and discoveries are being made all the time.

Taking care of your physical and emotional wellbeing can help you to cope with the ups and downs of MS and enable you to live well with the condition.

How Mumby’s Live-in Care can help your loved one with MS

At Mumby’s, we specialise in providing live-in care, with a particular focus on the specialist support required in conditions such as MS. We know that MS is unpredictable and this can make planning and accessing the right care difficult. Our friendly and knowledgeable team are available to chat about the support you or your loved one might need. You can call us on freephone 0800 505 3511 or email info@mumbys.com to find out how we can assist you with your live-in care needs without obligation.

We have professional, kind and caring staff who are available to start when needed and who are trained in the practical support of people with these conditions, including nutrition and exercise. They also provide emotional support to help people living with MS.