As we embark on the second half of MS Awareness Month, we are focusing in on care partners. Care partners can be family, friends and in some cases individuals from agencies or organizations. Being a care partner can not only be a difficult, but also lonely position to be in. Others who have not walked in your shoes will not understand the concerns, questions or struggles that you encounter. They also may not understand the immense importance of the good days and small victories that you relish and look forward to.
There are lots of questions that are often voiced that you may believe you are the only one asking… You aren’t! You are not alone in wondering if what you are doing is helping or making sense or the right thing to do or say. You aren’t alone in questioning if you should ask for help or bring something to a medical appointment. You’re not alone in feeling isolated, or alone or lost or overwhelmed. You are not alone in any of it. Below are some common questions often proceeded by “I don’t know if anyone ever asks you this but…”
- What on earth am I supposed to do when the person I’m caring for doesn’t want to open up to me?
- Am I terrible person for wanting a break?
- Are there support groups just for me? Does that exist?
- My loved one always says “I’m fine” or “it’s ok don’t worry about it.” I want to help them but what do I do?
- How can I be there for my (husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, aunt, cousin, son, daughter, neighbor, friend, roommate, insert other relationship)?
- How do I do this?
There are lots of answers to these questions, as many variations as there are people to give them. No one answer is wrong. While caring for another person is about them, it’s also about you! It’s about not forgetting what you need and also remembering to tend to yourself. It’s about not being able to pour out from an empty cup. It’s about recognizing when you don’t know what to do and reaching out to others for some backup.
You aren’t alone in what you’re going thru and you don’t need to be alone in navigating it. There are both online and in-person options available to help you navigate it. Reaching out to them doesn’t mean you aren’t good at being a care partner or that you have to pass the baton to someone else… it just means you are human and need some other folks in your corner. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Care Partner Needs – MS Awareness Month Activities
To continue the conversation about Care Partner Needs during MS Awareness Month, MSAA will be offering the following events:
- Monday, March 18, 2019 from 8:00 – 9:00 pm Eastern we will be hosting a free live webinar, “The Partnership of Care,” featuring MS nurse practitioner Megan Weigel.
- Monday, March 25, 2019 from 6:00 – 7:00 pm Eastern MSAA will be hosting a live Ask Me Anything (AMA) program with licensed clinical social worker Lara Krawchuk.
- Listen to MSAA’s podcast, Care Partner Needs, featuring Lara Krawcuk.