Home care for multiple sclerosis can help your loved one manage their symptoms, improve their quality of life, and maintain their independence—all within the comfortable and familiar surroundings of their own home.
When Does an Individual with Multiple Sclerosis Need Home Care?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that happens when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the protective lining of nerves. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. It causes a variety of neurologic and cognitive symptoms, which can vary dramatically from person to person.In its early stages, MS can cause numbness, weakness, and memory loss. Then, as the disease progresses, people with MS may have to cope with more complicated issues, such as slurred speech, paralysis, and cognitive decline.
Because the progression of MS is so varied and unpredictable, caring for someone with multiple sclerosis at home can be extremely challenging—if you’re trying to do everything by yourself.
In-home care services can help ensure that your loved one is safe and gets the support they need, from assisting with medication management and personal hygiene to encouraging a healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious meals and regular exercise.
In-Home Care Services for Multiple Sclerosis
In-home care for multiple sclerosis may involve a wide variety of non-medical services, ranging from personal care to companionship. In-home services can help with everyday medication reminders, mobility and transportation, light housekeeping, meal planning and preparation, and in other areas that improve overall well-being and quality of life.
Assistance with Mobility
Multiple sclerosis home care can assist with mobility issues that often accompany MS. For example, your loved one may need help managing:
- Balance problems
- Fatigue and weakness
- Respiratory muscle weakness
Exercise within reasonable limits can help mitigate most of these issues; however, seizures and pain require more advanced care. In-home caregivers can assist with symptom management, encourage and assist with exercise routines, and make adjustments or accommodations throughout the home to ensure movement is safe and easy.
Caring for Personal Care and Hygiene
Because MS is a potentially disabling disease, caring for someone with advanced multiple sclerosis may mean helping them with everyday personal care routines that they can no longer accomplish independently. Many people with MS need assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs), which include:
- Bathing and hygiene
- Transferring and mobility
- Toileting and continence
LivHOME caregivers are trained to help with these tasks, and they’ll incorporate your loved one’s hobbies, preferences, and unique circumstances along the way, prioritizing the whole person to maximize autonomy, dignity, and quality of life.
Help with Communication and Speech
In-home caregivers for multiple sclerosis can help with any communication and speech issues caused by MS. For instance, your loved one may benefit from one-on-one assistance with:
- Speech problems
- Swallowing difficulties
- Cognitive changes
Interventions to address communication and speech issues are generally determined by an occupational therapist or specialized language pathologist.
Support for Vision and Hearing Loss
In-home caregivers are also trained to help with the management of vision and hearing loss in someone with multiple sclerosis. People with MS may experience:
- Vision deficits
- Hearing loss
- Sensory disturbances
Sensory disturbances include tingling, burning, hypersensitivity or de-sensitivity, and other unusual skin sensations that may present safety concerns for bathing, feeding, and other routine activities. A LivHOME caregiver can help your loved one find solutions that address their limitations.
Management of Multiple Sclerosis at Home
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the challenges of caring for a loved one with multiple sclerosis, it may be time to find a professional care manager who can help you better cope with your responsibilities and regain peace of mind. A professional care manager can:
- Help you navigate the complex healthcare system
- Create a personalized multiple sclerosis care plan for your loved one
- Schedule respite care so you can avoid family caregiver burnout
- Help you make informed decisions about independent living
- Coordinate medical appointments
- Supervise care for daily activities such as eating, bathing, and dressing
- Encourage healthy eating and a safe amount of exercise
- Ensure that your loved one is safe in their home
In other words, professional care managers help families cope with managing multiple sclerosis at home. They are usually licensed nurses or social workers who have special training in gerontology, psychology, and/or other related fields, making them experts in assessing, coordinating, and monitoring a variety of healthcare services.