A Caregiver’s Guide: Learning When to Help

  • by Paul L.
  •   February 06, 2017

Paul L. is a paid Advocate for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.

Learning how to help your loved one with RMS  

Caregiving can be hard work, and one of the most difficult decisions I faced as a new caregiver was trying to figure out what I needed to be doing for my wife, who has relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). Knowing when to step in and help has been a challenge in my caregiving journey.

A key to being a caregiver is finding balance. I think the balance comes when you determine what they can still do and what they need help with and make sure to ask others for help when needed.

My experience has taught me some caregiving principles for when to lend a helping hand.

  • I learned early on that you can’t let your loved one’s RMS take center stage. If you are doing so much for them that you stop doing what makes you happy or stop taking care of yourself, you might need some additional help.
  • You can’t give up on your own dreams and adventures. I always tell others, “If you love to golf, then play golf; if you love tennis, continue to play; if you like to go on walks, then walk.” You can’t stop being you because you are a caregiver! For me, my passion is cooking. I love to cook, and I still do, every day.
  • There is no shame in asking for help. I find that family and friends want to help, but need to be given a specific thing or task to help with. The symptoms of MS can change daily, so if you need help, ask for a night off. If you’d prefer, start simple, like having someone make dinner for your family.
  • Let your loved one continue to do the things they can. As caregivers, we can’t do everything for them, and we shouldn’t try. I learned about my wife’s RRMS, and now, I watch and see where she might need help each day. If she can still do the task, I let her.
  • Keep track of the ways your loved one needs your assistance, and, if the list continues to grow, you might want to seek assistance from his or her health care professional.
  • Sharing is the final thought here. If your family doesn’t know all of the things you do as a caregiver, share with them the needs of your loved one. They may not realize how much you are really doing and may offer to help.

Paul L.

RRMS Caregiver

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4 Comment(s)
  • Melanie | February 18, 2017
    Please give me information on different symptoms to look for her for changes for the worse in the person I love and help care for
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | March 23, 2017
      Hi Melanie, Your health care provider is always a great resource for information. For additional information about relapsing MS, check out this blog post: https://www.liftms.com/education/relapsing-ms. Best Wishes!
  • Susie | February 23, 2017
    My loving husband Mark takes such good care of me, he is always there. He deserves a wonderful vacation or a wonderful payment. He reads my eyes, he can see pain or stress or just frustration.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | February 24, 2017
      What an inspiring story, Susie! We appreciate your contribution to the community.
  • Linda | July 13, 2017
    Thanks for the tips for caregivers. I am a caregiver for my 41 year old daughter and to read other caregiver ways and means to help is very encouraging . If there are other caregivers out there maybe can begin a chat.
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | July 14, 2017
      We loved reading your story, Linda. If you want to connect with other patients and Care Partners with MS, we recommend visiting Teva’s Lift MS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/liftms.
  • Adrienne | November 02, 2017
    My mother was diagnosed with MS over 30 years ago, when I was a toddler. Watching her physical independence slowly change through the years has been difficult, but it exposed the unconditional love a daughter has for her mom, by the roles changing from her caring for me to me do everything in my capability to meet her needs! I feel so blessed that this road has only made our bond STRONGER!
    • Teva's Lift MS Team | November 03, 2017
      Thank you for sharing and being a part of what makes this community great, Adrienne.