Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis can be life-changing. Through our experience of supporting people facing MS and their families, we know that most people prefer to stay in the safety and comfort of their own homes.
Staying at home with specialist support for MS means that you can continue to live life your way while benefiting from one-to-one care provided by a compassionate carer.
We’ve put together this informative guide to help you understand what MS is, the symptoms you may have, and the support for MS that might be available to you.
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord. This causes a wide range of potential symptoms. It’s a lifelong condition that can range from mild symptoms to serious disabilities.
To explain things a little further, MS affects the spinal column along with the brain in such a way that it causes the formation of lesions across the central nervous system.
The severity of these lesions will determine the severity of the symptoms for someone living with MS.
It might be helpful to know that, it’s estimated that more than 130,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with MS, and it affects three times more women than men. The cause of MS is not fully understood but research suggests that genetic and environmental factors play a part.
During the early stages of multiple sclerosis, the central nervous system can sometimes repair or compensate by forming a different pathway. In such instances, symptomatic episodes, or flare-ups can be followed by intermittent recovery. Periods between flare-ups, or attacks, are known as remission periods, and they can last for several years.
Multiple sclerosis symptoms
MS can cause a wide range of symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation, or balance. There’s no definitive list of first signs. What could be an early MS symptom for one person may never be experienced by someone else.
Common symptoms experienced by those living with multiple sclerosis include (but are not limited to):
- difficulty walking
- unexplained pain
- numbness and tingling
- muscle stiffness and spasm
- difficulty in controlling bladder
- problems with balance and coordination
- problems with thinking, learning, and planning
- issues with vision, most commonly blurred vision
How multiple sclerosis affects the body
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative and inflammatory immune condition that causes problems throughout the body. MS can affect virtually every system of the body. Each person’s experience with MS is different.
Areas and functions of the body affected by MS include:
- Brain interruptions: difficulty thinking, forgetfulness, confusion, and other cognitive changes. In some cases, it can also cause vertigo, dizziness, tremors, and seizures.
- Swallowing: nerve damage can affect the muscles responsible for swallowing, leading to symptoms like coughing and choking.
- Breathing: nerve damage along the spinal cord can cause pain, fatigue, and inflammation when breathing.
- Bladder control: bladder infections, urinary tract infections, and upset stomachs.
- Sexual dysfunction: MS can affect the ability to feel aroused. However, it does not affect fertility.
- Emotions: since it affects the brain, MS can cause depression, frustration, stress, and other emotional changes.
- Vision: vision problems are typically among the first symptoms of MS. This includes blurred vision, eye pain, and double vision.
- Vocal changes: slurring, pitch control, and hoarseness are common with MS.
- Cardiovascular: recent research shows that women with MS are at an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, such as stroke and heart disease.
- Immune system: MS can cause your immune system to be weakened, which can lead to things like pneumonia and nutrient deficiencies.
- Hand-eye coordination: frequently causes tingling, numbness, and sensations of ‘pins and needles’.
- Brittle bones: nutrient deficiencies and inactivity can lead to brittle bones.
- Muscle weakness: nerve damage can affect your gait, making it difficult to walk.
- Balance: nerve and muscle issues can lead to problems with your balance.
Care and support for MS
MS affects everyone in different ways, and it can take various forms. Although it can be life-changing, with the right support for MS, you don’t have to lose your independence or your sense of self.
Mumby’s live-in care service gives you one-to-one support in the comfort and security of your own home from a carefully-matched care worker.
We can offer support for MS in several ways, including:
- Managing and administering medications: our carers are professionally trained in medication management. They will also collect your prescriptions from the pharmacy.
- Safe mobility: advice and guidance for household adaptations to minimise falls around your home.
- Discreet personal hygiene: sensitive to continence care considerations.
- Household chores: light cleaning, grocery shopping, and cooking nutritious meals.
- Companionship: as needed while respecting your privacy.
- Facilitating social arrangements and trips: a live-in carer understands the importance of keeping connections with friends and the local community.
- Caring for your much-loved pet: a Mumby’s carer will happily feed pets and take your dogs for regular walks.
Respite care for MS sufferers
We understand that caring for someone who has MS can be challenging and exhausting. Remember, you need some time to look after yourself, too.
We offer short-term, round the clock multiple sclerosis respite live-in care to allow an opportunity for a family carer to take a much needed break from caring for someone living with MS.
We know that those living with MS are typically younger than those living with other complex conditions, like dementia and Parkinson’s. This mean there is a greater appetite to continue to live life like you always have despite the diagnosis of MS.
MS emotional support
Living with MS can affect your feelings, so it’s not unusual to experience a range of powerful emotions around your MS, especially at the time of diagnosis. It may take you time to come to terms with MS being part of your life.
Strong feelings of all kinds are part of a normal response to an MS diagnosis or a change in your MS. A Mumby’s live-in carer can offer emotional support for MS in a range of ways. These include:
- Helping to build confidence, trust, and hope.
- Preventing further decline in mental health.
- A live-in carer will get to know you and will be able to monitor changes to your mental health.
- Practical and personal help and encouragement to help resolve, cope, or deal with problems such as self-care, living skills, and re-engagement with friends and family.
- Emotional support to relieve anxiety.
Chores taken care of so you don’t feel so overwhelmed.
Mumby’s live-in support for MS
Our expertly trained and experienced live-in carers provide multiple sclerosis support that is tailored to your needs, desires, and interests. They offer care, companionship, and assistance as needed.
Contact the friendly team at Mumby’s for a chat about what options are available to you.