Thank you to Sophia Nuamah for submitting the following guest post for the MS week. I appreciate her support for multiple sclerosis research and the family of caregivers around the world.
Ms. Sophia Nuamah
80336 Munich, Germany
Chronic diseases such as MS are usually termed as Invisible illness because so many people sometimes, don’t even believe you’re sick because the symptoms are not seen.
People diagnosed with MS can sometimes develop complications like Mental changes, Depression, Epilepsy, MS tremors, problems with speech and swallowing, Paralysis (typically in the legs), etc.
Some even experience relapses as they experience new or worse symptoms; and may experience some degree of reduced mobility at some point in time, and this can make everyday tasks difficult or even impossible without help.
Caregivers are noteworthy because of the critical role they play in the lives of people diagnosed with MS because there comes a point in time when they need extra help in performing normal daily activities.
Caring for someone with MS is physically and emotionally challenging. When you’re giving care and support to someone else, it is mostly very easy to disregard your own wellbeing. But it’s really important to look after yourself, mostly because staying healthy means you’ll be able to continue giving care.
Some of the ways to help maintain your physical and mental wellbeing are to take a break when needed to look after your health, renew your energy to be able to keep on with your caregiving and get help/support from others, to make sure you’re not doing everything by yourself.
For people living with MS who care for themselves, it is very important to get a support system and build social relationships to help you through the challenging stages of the disease.
Talk to people- this could be a friend, family member, a professional, or someone else who is also diagnosed with the disease or has experience in giving care; as MS can have a big impact on the people close to someone who’s living with the condition (family/friends), especially if they start to rely more and more on support from them every day.
Both people affected by MS and caregivers find that it helps to talk about their feelings and experiences of caring for themselves or other people.
Nevertheless, there have also been some technological advances in helping people diagnosed with MS manage their condition better to live normal productive lives like medication reminders to efficiently follow their treatment plans and smart devices- installed in homes to counter the problem of reduced mobility.
All these are signs of progress and hope for those living with MS, who have suffered in silence for so long; and though there’s a long way to go when it comes to invisible illness like these, Increased public awareness and more useful tools like this are making life easier for the people with them.