Caring for a Loved One With MS

Aug 24, 2016
Stephen Bleeker

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that affects an estimated 100,000 Canadians.

The disease attacks the protective covering of nerves, myelin, causing interruption and disruption to nerve impulses. MS causes a range of symptoms, including weakness, fatigue, impaired sensations, bladder problems, vision problems cognitive impairment, and mood changes. MS is unpredictable and the symptoms can change from one day to the next. With MS, you can have normal motor function and sensations one day, and the next be fatigued and unable to walk. If Mom or Dad has MS, providing adequate care can be a daily challenge.

Bladder Care

As MS affects the nerves, it can disrupt regular function of the nerves and muscles of the urinary system. People with MS may have to cope with incontinence, leaking, discomfort, or difficulty with urination. As a caregiver, you can support Mom or Dad by supplying absorbent products (panty liners, adult diapers, bed pads), scheduling bathroom breaks, and talking with your parent’s primary care physician about medication options. If the problem worsens, Mom or Dad may need a surgical procedure to insert a catheter.

Pain Care

MS may cause pain in the face, arms, legs, and feet. This pain can cause sensations of burning, aching, cramping, numbness, tingling or twitching. Your parent’s doctor may prescribe medications to alleviate the pain. You may be able to relieve the pain somewhat by applying warm compresses or fitting Mom or Dad with pressure stockings and gloves.

Mobility Limitations

MS can affect balance and cause vertigo and dizziness. It can cause sensory impairment, vision problems, tremors, fatigue, and make it difficult to walk. As a result, day-to-day activities can become a challenge and household safety may become a concern. Look into home mobility equipment and accessibility upgrades to make the bathroom, kitchen, stairs, and other areas in the home safer and easier to use.

Caring for a loved one with MS can be physical and emotionally draining. It is not unusual for caregivers to experience burnout, which can include exhaustion, irritability, trouble sleeping, sadness, and feeling overwhelmed. You do not have to care for a loved one with MS alone. Assurance Home Care is on your side with a range of assistance services, including respite care to ease stress on the whole family.

Call 613-706-1672 to further discuss how together we can put Mom or Dad in the best hands.

  • Stephen Bleeker