10 Ways You Can Prepare To Age Well With MS

By guest writer, Anita Fernandes.

Everyone has to make lifestyle changes as they age but for people with multiple sclerosis, this will mean a lot more adaptations and adjustments.
MS often causes “accelerated aging” where you need the kind of care given to people in their 70s while you are still in your 50s. Preparing to age well with MS will help you anticipate and overcome the challenges you will face so that you have a healthier and happier life. 
1. Create a daily routine 
Everyone should have a regular daily routine but when you have MS, your schedule is your best friend. Pushing yourself even slightly can cause fatigue so your daily schedule should focus on conserving energy. For instance, you can use a bath bench when showering so that you don’t get tired. Your morning routine is the most important as this will ensure that you are not too tired and have a better chance of having a good day. A regular routine also lowers your stress levels and improve your mood. Studies show that a positive mood is associated with decreased fatigue. 

Caroline @thegirlwithMs on one of her walks.
2. Learn to adapt 
One of the toughest things about living with MS is accepting that you have limitations. Most people see this as a loss of freedom and so they make choices that have a negative impacton their health. For instance, if heat aggravates your symptoms, you will have to say good bye to your weekly warm soaks. Instead, you can treat yourself to a massage which would be as relaxing and will help relax your muscles. Adaptability skills are very important as progression will bring with it new symptoms. 

3. Never skip your follow-ups 
You may have a lot of reasons to skip your medical appointment – you’re having trouble walking, you don’t have anyone to drive you to your appointment or you are just plain frustrated and fed up. Skipping your follow-ups will have a negative impact on your health and MS symptoms so this is one of those times when you need to force yourself to move. Contact your city office and find out if they offer free ride services for people with disabilities. 

4. Prepare for Progression
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst – cliché but true. One of the best ways to prepare for aging with MS is to prepare for progression. It’s never too early to start researching accessible housingassisted living and adaptive driving. Today, there areplenty of resources for information on aging with MS – everything from home care, transportation, in-home services, home modification and general legal services.

5. Learn to prioritize 
Living with MS requires you to focus on managing your symptoms and you might sacrifice activities that are “not essential” but improve your quality of life. Your health is a priority but hobbies and activities of interest are also important for your mental, emotional and physical well-being. Determine your priorities and then decide which tasks can be delegated to family, friends or helpers. Schedule your day so that you can perform important activities when your energy levels are highest. 

Caroline and Tim visiting the “Wall” at Reagan Library. Do what you can, when you can!

6. Start a health and wellness program early on
Health and wellness programs for people living with MS help people improve their mental and physical health. You can choose from a wide variety of adaptive exercise such as dance, aquatics and yoga. MS Focus offers several free classes or partial or full funding for gyms and wellness centers if required. Health and wellness programs help to reduce the stress and frustration with your limitations and instead appreciate all the things your body can do. 

7. Seek and Accept Help
People with MS are often embarrassed to ask for help and don’t want to impose on others. This is a huge mistake as it can severely impact your health and quality of life. Seek help and assistance as this will completely change your lifestyle and improve your mobility and freedom and allow you to enjoy a wider range of activities. 

8. Give back 
Living with MS requires help and assistance from family and friends. This can make you frustrated and guilty as you start to feel like a burden on your loved ones. Figure out ways in which you can help them as well as give back to your community. This will help you deal with negative thoughts and emotions and improve your self-worth. 

9. Work with a psychiatrist or psychologist
MS is associated with various psychiatric comorbidities including depression and anxiety. MS and mood disorders can cause a vicious cycle where MS leads to psychiatric comorbidities and these disorders have a negative neurologic impact. Working with these mental health professionals will help you learn new coping techniques to ensure good quality of life as you age.  

10. Keep a Positive Attitude
Living with MS means dealing with pain and frustration on a daily basis. Keeping a positive attitude when you have MS can be quite the challenge, especially on bad days. However, it is important that you don’t give in to negative emotions as this can lead to mental health issues. Your positive attitude will go a long way in helping you age well with MS. 
Simple steps like a regular diet, sleep and exercise schedule will help to alleviate your MS symptoms. When living with MS, it is important to work towards overall health and wellness as this will let you lead a more comfortable and happier life. 


That moment when I had to say hi to the beautiful and talented Jennifer Tilly.


Thank you @Everydayhealth for providing this wonderful article by guest writer, Anita Fernandes.  


Author Bio -Anita Fernandes has been writing extensively on health and wellness for over a decade. She has expertise in nutrition, fitness, public health, and weight loss and has contributed content to a variety of leading digital health publishers. Anita has a unique perspective on healthy living and lifestyle, as she has battled and overcome eating disorders and obesity. She shares her experiences in an effort to help others overcome the physical and mental health problems that can sometimes seem insurmountable. 

3 comments:

yorkie mom said...

Thanks for the information. I want to live well and have a good life.

Roland Clarke said...

Excellent advice for those like me in my retirement - due to MS. I may be late but I'm still grateful. Blessings fellow warrior.

Images Animated Gif said...

Have a wonderful autumn!