I am a spouse
or partner of someone with MS
It can be difficult to watch your loved one
face some of the challenges that accompany a diagnosis of multiple
sclerosis. It can also be hard, as a spouse, to wonder and worry
about what the future will bring now that MS is part of the
You may experience a wide range of emotions
in response to your partner’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
You may even feel some grief for your own losses. These feelings
Coping strategies now that MS is part
of the family
Despite the changes multiple sclerosis may
(or may not) bring, it is important to remember that your spouse
or partner is the same person they were before the diagnosis.
Open communication, being informed about MS, and respecting
both your spouse’s and your own different coping styles
in a stressful situation, are all ways to handle the presence
of MS. Visit the section on Multiple
Sclerosis to find out more about the disease and its symptoms.
Multiple sclerosis may also affect your family
life, and you may find that some of your roles change over time.
Children will have questions or concerns about what is happening.
An open approach is also recommended for the family: talk honestly
and tailor your discussion to each person’s concerns,
age and coping styles. For more information on talking about
MS with children, visit I am a parent
Providing care to the partner with
Some spouses or partners of people with MS
gradually assume some type of care for the individual with MS.
This may involve helping with medication, more responsibilities
around the home or in parenting, and/or assisting with mobility
issues. The vast majority of people assume this caregiver role
willingly, as a loving partner supporting their spouse. However,
it can be emotionally and physically challenging. Some people
have not recognized their new role as caregiver until years
have passed or the partner with MS has serious health or mobility
The MS Society of Canada encourages spouses
to recognize and understand their role as caregivers –
and to start taking care of themselves – as early as possible.
To learn more, visit I am a caregiver
to someone with MS and/or read a special insert from the
September 2005 issue of the MS Ontario newsletter entitled Does
supporting someone with MS make you a caregiver?
Other issues that may arise
Some symptoms associated with MS can be difficult
to talk about. Some people with MS may have symptoms related
to sexuality, emotions, bowel / bladder, thinking and/or memory.
These can be very personal topics, but if your partner is experiencing
any of these symptoms, consider learning more and try to talk
about the issue(s) with him or her in an open manner. Information
on these topics is available online in our publications
section. We also have a recommended resources which suggests quality books on topics such
as coping, sexuality, relationships and caregiving.
You can also contact your MS Society division
at 1-800-268-7582 or your nearest MS Society office to discuss
these issues in a confidential and down-to-earth manner. To
find the MS Society office closest to you, visit In
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