It’s no secret that living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can be challenging. Finding time to care for yourself and your family may mean having to do things differently than before you were diagnosed. But learning new ways to manage your day-to-day responsibilities can help.
Here are some tips to help you stay on top of things and still care for your family. Of course, everyone with MS will have a wide range of symptoms, so consider what will work best for you.
1. Break Out the Slow Cooker
People with MS often have difficulty standing for long periods of time. If standing is a problem for you, consider the many meals that are easily made in a slow cooker. Many of these recipes require little prep and minimal effort. Best of all, it’s a simple way to cook a healthy and delicious meal.
MS symptoms can come and go, so another idea is to freeze larger portions or leftover meals. Have your family help you prepare a bunch of meals one weekend, and then place them in freezer storage bags. When you’re not feeling your best, or simply don’t have the time to cook, you can pull them out and heat them up.
2. Write It Down
A big challenge for many people with MS is scheduling, especially if you have children. Write down important dates, activities, or bill due dates on a calendar. When you get forget something, you or a family member can easily reference the calendar. This means no more forgotten appointments or realizing on the way to your child’s soccer practice that you didn’t bring any team snacks.
Smartphone apps are another way to keep everything organized and help remind you of important events.
3. Find Alternative Activities
Your MS symptoms may prevent you from doing the same activities you once loved. Rather than thinking of what you can’t do, think of all the things you can still do.
Trade riding bikes with playing board games, or going out to the movie theater with a movie date at home. Finding alternative activities will help keep your family connected, even when you’re not feeling your best.
4. Consider Assistive Devices
Mobility devices can help you in your everyday life. Mobilized scooters, canes, and walkers can help you get around more easily. Electric can openers, shower grab bars, and foam grips for pens and pencils can simplify daily tasks.
But you don’t always have to invest in something new. Simply placing a stable chair next to your washer or dryer so you can sit down while doing laundry can be beneficial. Take a look around your home and find ways to meet your new needs.
5. Get Your Car Adapted
Many people take driving for granted, until it becomes difficult or impossible. If you’re living with MS, adaptations can be made to your car to make driving easier.
Mechanical hand controls, steering and brake mechanisms, and specialized seats are just some of the available options. Contact a certified ADED driving specialist or an occupational therapist to learn more about outfitting your car.
6. Be Proactive
MS symptoms can come and go without any warning. While you’re feeling good, try to take care of what you can. This can include housework, paying bills, shopping, and any leftover chores or tasks. You’ll feel ahead of the game when you have to slow down as your symptoms return.
You can also ask your friends or family members for help. Make a chore list and assign different tasks for each individual. When you need to take a rest, you’ll know that others are taking care of things for you.