MS Caregivers, Listen Up! (Steve’s Corner)

Lisa’s husband, Steve, shares another MS caregiver point-of-view article, offering tips and suggestions on how to best take care of our loved ones living with Multiple Sclerosis; and each others, as caregivers.

STEVE’S PERSPECTIVE:

When you are the primary caregiver for a loved one, you must be flexible.  If you work for somebody else, get your FMLA paperwork (Form WH-380-F) filled out. This will allow you to miss work without fear of losing your job.  FMLA allows you to be able to take care of emergency situations without any repercussions.  The law states all you have to do is call in “FMLA” and your supervisor/boss cannot question you.  Most people I have dealt with have been very understanding of my situation.  I have only had to actually use FMLA a couple of times.  If you have a certain amount of vacation, you will use that for your missed time.  Once you drop below a certain number of hours, it is your option to use vacation or take the time at no pay.

My advice is to be open and honest with your supervisor as to your loved ones condition. 

You also need to be at work on time every day.  Don’t abuse the system.  If you are a good worker, supervisors and co-workers will be more understanding when you call in and be more willing to work with you about flexing time.

MSlisaSAYS and husband, Steve

MSlisaSAYS blogger, Lisa and her husband, Steve

Now that you have the “freedom” to leave work to care for your loved one, now you must be flexible with personal time.  If your loved one is unable to do a planned activity, find something they are able to do.  If they do not feel like going out for dinner and a movie, get take out and rent a movie.  It is ok to be disappointed that things did not go as planned.

DON’T EVER get mad at your loved one for the change of plans.  There is a good probability they feel worse than you do about the situation.  If you take your frustration out on your loved one, you are only going to cause bad feelings and/or cause them to try to fight through and go just to make you happy.  This only makes them feel worse.  If your loved one starts apologizing, put them at ease.

Always let them know how much you love them.