If you give care and support to someone else it can be all too easy to neglect your own health and wellbeing.
Caring for someone with MS can sometimes be a physically and emotionally demanding role. When you're giving care and support to someone else it can be all too easy to neglect your own health and wellbeing.
But it's really important to look after yourself. That's importnat for you and the person you care for. It’s easier said than done of course, with so many other priorities in the day. There’s no magic wand, but there are lots of ways you can help to maintain your physical and mental health.
Find out more
Information for carers
Looking after your health
There might be helpful courses near you led by other people who care for someone with a long-term condition. These kind of self-management courses are designed to help you look after your own health needs. These courses are sometimes called "expert patient" courses.
To find out if there's a course near you:
- ask your GP
- get in touch with your local council (find your council at gov.uk)
You might also find our MS Society virtual support events useful. They include information webinars, conversation cafes and freinds and family sessions.
Taking a break
Taking regular breaks from caring is vital to ensure you've got time to look after yourself and recharge your batteries. Breaks can be taken together or apart, and can take a really wide variety of forms - where you decide to go and what you decide to do is up to you.
You're the expert when it comes to planning the short break, holiday or respite care that suits you and your family. For example, you might want to have a break at home, in a hotel with care, or have a supported holiday.
Paying for a short break or respite care
You might be entitled to practical and financial support from social services to help you get respite care or a short break. This would involve them assessing your needs in a Carers' Assessment.
If you or the person you care for aren't eligible for support from social services, you might still be able to get help towards the cost of a break from other organisations and trusts.
If you want to talk to someone to explore your options for short breaks, contact our MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000 or email [email protected]
Talking to others
MS can have a big impact on the family and friends of someone who's living with the condition, especially if they start to rely more and more on care and support from the people around them.
Lots of people who are affected by MS find that it helps to talk about their feelings and experiences of caring to other people. This could be a friend or family member, a professional, or someone else who has experience of caring.
You're not alone, and help and advice is available from many different sources.
Our free and confidential helpline is available if you'd like someone to talk to. Most of our helpline volunteers have personal experience of MS or caring, and can signpost you to other organisations if needed. Call our MS Helpline on 0808 800 8000 or email [email protected]
Local and online support for carers
You might benefit from finding a local or online support group. Our local and online support includes friends, family and carers.
And your GP, local MS Society group or Carers' Centre can put you in touch with carer’s support groups near you.
Online forums for families and carers
Share your concerns, questions and experiences with other carers online. We have a dedicated forum for carers of people with MS, and Carers Trust and Carers UK have similar chat rooms and forums for carers on their own websites.
It might also be helpful to talk to a professional counsellor. Counselling is generally offered through voluntary organisations or private practitioners, and your GP or local MS Society group should be able to refer or point you in the right direction. Some branches and regional MS Therapy Centres run counselling sessions themselves, which might cost less.
Getting help and support
One of the best ways to help maintain your health and wellbeing is to get help and support from others, to make sure you're not doing everything on your own.
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