A Caregiver’s Perspective: Managing Symptoms as a Family
- by Michelle C.
- February 19, 2018
Michelle C. is a paid Advocate for Teva Neuroscience, Inc.
My husband, Heath, and I spoke with our children at an early age about his relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and how it affects our whole family. As a result, managing Heath’s RRMS is a family affair in our household and we all have our own ways in which we help him on a daily basis.
Short-term memory issues are a big part of Heath’s RRMS, so as a family we have come up with several ways to help him remember his daily tasks. For example, we devised a silly rhyme for him to remember things he needs to take to work every day, and our children really enjoy playing games with Heath to help him remember to take his medication on schedule.
Fatigue also plays a role in Heath’s life with RRMS, so it’s important that we manage it together. As his primary Care Partner, I monitor his fatigue levels, usually without him even realizing that I am doing so, and offer suggestions when planning our family time together. I, along with my children, try to handle most of the chores around the house and use tips to make our home more MS-friendly in order to preserve his energy during the weekdays. We also help by letting him rest weekend mornings so we can have fun later in the day.
Weakness, especially in his legs, occasionally has an effect on his daily activities, so I try to notice when this occurs and adjust our activities when necessary. Instead of zooming around town, running errands all weekend or trying to cram too much into a short weekend, we take things slower and enjoy our surroundings and activities. When his weakness becomes apparent, it’s a sign to all of us that we have been too busy and done too much. This serves as a wake-up call to our entire family to slow down.
This RRMS journey has been a blessing to our family in more ways than we could have possibly imagined. It’s brought us closer as a family and by maintaining a positive outlook, we have learned to live our lives in this “new normal.” Most important, Heath’s RRMS has made us slow down and enjoy our time together. We tend to “stop and smell the roses” a little more often.
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COPAXONE® (glatiramer acetate injection) is a prescription medicine that is used to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults.
Do not use COPAXONE® if you are allergic to glatiramer acetate or mannitol.