Wellness is important at every age, especially for those with MS. While our needs naturally change over time, self-care becomes increasingly important as we enter the later stages of life. Aging is uniquely personal. While some may still have the mental and physical capabilities that have kept them independent, others may need additional support to complete daily tasks. Understanding our needs and having access to supportive services and devices can make a difference in our quality of life.
Mobility and independence go hand in hand. Having the necessary equipment may allow an individual to remain living independently for as long as possible. As we age, our balance and physical strength decline. While exercise and physical activity are typically recommended to stay healthy, falls may be a frequent concern. Mobility devices and assistive technology may assist with daily tasks, but sometimes specialized equipment may be needed to fully meet an individual’s needs. While MSAA’s Equipment Distribution Program offers equipment such as walkers, canes, and grab bars, some people may require additional specialized devices to fully meet their needs, such as Hoyer lifts and hospital beds. Occupational therapy and physical therapy may help evaluate our needs and help us adapt.
Daily living activities may be especially challenging for those who may be experiencing cognitive decline or don’t have care partners for assistance. Homecare may offer in-home services to help with these tasks, such as light housekeeping, laundry, and meal preparation. A limited support system may also impact socializing. The benefits of socializing are undeniable. It keeps our minds active and is important for cognitive functioning and our emotional well-being. Adult daycare services may be a great resource for those who would like additional social activities outside their home. These services are provided to older adults in a community setting and typically offer a range of events and activities like trivia games, painting, or group conversations.
Planning becomes increasingly important when taking into consideration the specific needs of someone with MS. It can be overwhelming to deal with medical expenses, housing modifications, transportation, and other unexpected costs. Navigating health insurance and Social Security benefits can be complicated, and becoming familiar with government benefits and local and national organizations may ease some of the stress.
For those who would like to explore their local resources, consider the following:
Center for Independent Living: For those looking for additional support and resources, your local Center for Independent Living may be able to offer a variety of services to promote the independence of people with disabilities and those who are older. Services may include information and referral, independent living skills, individual and systemic advocacy, and equipment loan closets. The ILRU Directory of Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and Associations can be found by visiting https://www.ilru.org/projects/cil-net/cil-center-and-association-directory.
Eldercare Locator: The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging that connects you to services for older adults and their families. Their specialists can assist with information about support services, housing, elder rights, insurance and benefits, health, and transportation. The Eldercare Locator can be accessed by visiting https://eldercare.acl.gov/Public/index.aspx.
Having a child with an illness is any parent’s greatest nightmare. MS being an unpredictable and progressive disease can invoke a lot of emotions for the whole family once a diagnosis has been established. Hug your child from time to time and let them know that it is going to be okay. Give them the reassurance that you are by their side no matter what. Be your child’s greatest cheerleader and encourage them to continue with their regular activities to keep them engaged. Practicing physical activities, getting adequate sleep and following healthy diet patterns can have a huge impact on a child’s MS journey.
There is a reason why the holiday season is considered the most wonderful time of the year. Embracing holiday traditions is one way to make this season merrier and brighter. Whether it be carrying on family traditions or creating new ones – traditions bring a sense of nostalgia, joy, and comfort. Traditions are unique to every family, but no matter how we all celebrate, there’s one thing we all have in common: the holidays are meant to be enjoyed with those we love.
It is the time of the year when we have all these lovely holidays just round the corner. The time of the year when we get together with friends and family to share the cheer and joy. But with the holidays comes the stress of organizing, planning and attending parties. Getting through the store aisles can be daunting with a lot of last-minute shopping taking place.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while getting ready for the fun days ahead.
Enjoy the weather. The heat is gone, and the mosquitoes are dead. I don’t think they came from the same place. Rejoice. Hallelujah. Just those two things being gone are enough to make me dance.
Sit back and relax. Ladies you can shave your legs less and cover up the cuts with pants. Even electric razors cut. Thought the electric razor would save me from bleeding out. I was wrong and I often still get cuts.
Now I can cover them with pants and not be boiling hot.
Fall means no snakes here in NC too. I don’t have to worry about the dog having an ego trip, if I let him out back. Pumpkin pie and coffee are good at breakfast too. Took me years to enjoy pie at breakfast. Why not? We are adults.
Hoodies are great, but wear zip up hoodies. There is a reason why older folks wear cardigans. Easy on and off is vital for many. I find body temperature regulation is better dealt with when you dress in layers.
MS requires more thoughtful planning. Dressing is no exception . We can easily overheat. Layers are the way to go. Try zip off stuff. Pullovers can be an issue.
I once got stuck in a sweatshirt trying to get it off. It is funny now. I learned from it at least. I learned hard wood floors can be napped on. I also found a love for zip up sweatshirtsEnjoy fall. Lots of perks.
This fun dessert is perfect for the Fall. They’re so easy to make and are loved in my household. I like being outside during the cooler Autumn weather and love to share these yummy little treats with friends and family in my neighborhood. You could really get creative and add your favorite toppings as well, such as drizzled chocolate, sprinkles or even put on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
2 Green Apples
Lemon juice to keep apples from turning brown
1 pkg Mini Pretzel Twists
1 pkg Rolo candy
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
On a baking sheet, lay out pretzels in a single layer and place a Rolo candy on each pretzel.
Place in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until the candy is soft but not melted.
Chop the apple in small chunks. Squeeze a little lemon juice on them if you would like to help keep them from turning brown.
Place one apple on the end of a toothpick and push into one of the Rolo Pretzels. Repeat until all the Rolo pretzels have apples.
It is without a doubt that today’s fast-paced world can be stressful. Between balancing work, family and social obligations, it can be hard to set aside time for yourself. By learning how to relax, you can soothe your body and mind, heal from your daily dose of stress and devote some much-needed time for yourself. Luckily, when it comes to strategies to relax, the easier the better! Setting aside 10 minutes of your day is all you need to calm your mind and body. Here are a few relaxation strategies that may be helpful.
Breathe. Breathing techniques are one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to relax immediately. And the best part… this strategy can be done anywhere! All you need to do is take a deep breath in and slowly breath out and repeat steadily for 5 minutes. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing and feel the tension release from your body.
Connect with nature. Spending just a few minutes outside is all you need to disconnect when you feel stressed. Go for a short walk, or simply sit outside. You don’t necessarily even have to be outside either; listening to nature sounds or looking at scenic pictures can help you relax.
Write down your thoughts. Journaling offers an abundance of benefits – from reducing stress to sparking self-discovery. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, jotting down your thoughts can help release these emotions, while also recognizing how you feel.
Plug in music and zone out. It’s no secret that listening to our favorite song is an instant mood boost. I find music as an outlet; a way to take my mind elsewhere and de-compress. Listening to soothing music can help quiet the mind, but choose whatever may bring you joy and relaxation.
Take charge and control your stress by learning how to soothe your mind, body and soul. We can’t control environmental factors, but we can control how we react to them.
I’m not a betting man but if you have multiple sclerosis, odds are in your favor you suffer from foot drop. Foot drop is that draggy, MS hex where your foot never seems to clear the floor for a normal step. It hinders your balance and can make you prone to falls.
The most popular way to beat foot drop is wearing an ankle foot orthotic or AFO.
AFO’s aren’t cheap (what medical device is?), so it would seem an AFO should have more uses than just preventing foot drop.
That’s where I come in.
After much research, here are some other ways your AFO can help around the house…
The medical expenses associated with MS can be costly, so finding an insurance plan that is appropriate for your healthcare needs is crucial. As such, MSAA would like to remind everyone of two important enrollment deadlines for 2022 health insurance coverage.
Open enrollment for 2022 Medicare coverage ends on Tuesday, December 7th. To enroll or review your current Medicare coverage, visit Medicare.gov.
Health Insurance Marketplace
Open enrollment for private insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace ends on Wednesday, December 15th. To enroll or review your current Health Insurance Marketplace coverage, visit HealthCare.gov.
You can also find information on both websites regarding medical coverage and COVID-19.
Coverage for both Medicare and Health Insurance Marketplace plans begins on January 1, 2022.
This is an important time, so please be sure to enroll in a health insurance plan that is right for you! If you have any questions, please feel free to call MSAA’s Helpline at (800) 532-7667, ext. 154 or email us at MSquestions@mymsaa.org.
OK so there is nothing funny about a chronic illness. Injecting a little bit of humor can go along the way. Don’t force it.
Yeah, the fire breathing dragon on my path to a decent night’s sleep is not funny. His blow torch breath on my arm for hours kinda sucks. But, maybe he can get a part on Game of Thrones instead of being part of my nightly nerve pain.
So my right leg identifies as a tree log. A very heavy log. It is my Barbie Leg. The Floppy Fish Foot is a special added MS gift.
If I can’t manually bend Barbie Leg, Floppy Fish Foot steps up and makes movement extra hard. It gives 110%. It really knows how to increase the difficulty.
I left many things behind when my boys became teens. Not so much in reality. I load my van for a trip with as much stuff as when my boys were little. Only now my bed rail has replaced the pack and play. My wheelchair replaced the stroller and protein powder pushed out the baby food.
Ah, to be young again. Wait… my special fork replaced baby spoons and my water bottle with a straw replaced sippy cups. At least I am accustomed to needing lots of stuff.
Try and find a wee bit of humor in things. Not everything is funny though. I spend many moments in frustration tears. Take something you deal with and turn it around. The back of my thighs are starting to burn a bit. Nothing big or painful yet. Getting ready to turn that around with humor.
Yes, my right leg is spastic, but I turned it into something silly. I can laugh most of the time. Plus I am finding people understand a Barbie leg better then spasticity. Make your descriptions as simple as possible for everyone. Your silly analogies can clarify things for people.