Taking care of yourself

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 important 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.

If you move or lift the person you care for, you need to know how to do this as safely as possible. The NHS has some tips on this.

Find out more

You can find out how you can get support, both for the person you care for and for yourself, at:

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:

You might also find our MS Society virtual support events useful. They include information webinars, conversation cafes and friends and family sessions.

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.

Find out more about short breaks and holidays

Find out more about arranging and paying for respite care from the Carers Trust 

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]

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.

MS Helpline

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.

Professional counselling

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.

Find out more about counselling and other talking therapies

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.

Find out where and how to get help and support

Do you care for someone living with MS?

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Your lived experience of caring for someone with MS can help us shape and improve our services for carers.

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