Report: MS Caregivers Offer Insight Into Daily Challenges, Disease

MS Caregivers Report coverThe National Alliance for Caregiving, in partnership with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Southeastern Institute of Research, has released the results of a survey on multiple sclerosis (MS) caregivers.

The survey, which was conducted June 2-19, 2011, gathered responses from 421 caregivers.

Overall, the report indicates that caregivers of people with MS provide significantly more care per week compared to caregivers in a national survey: 40 hours versus 24 hours, respectively. MS caregivers are also less likely to transition their care recipient to a long-term care facility in the near future.

Assisting with activities of daily living consumes a lot of MS caregivers’ time, including helping with bathing, dressing, feeding and toileting as well as housekeeping, cooking and providing transportation to medical appointments.

Compared to national caregivers, MS caregivers are experiencing more negative effects on finances, hobbies/activities and mental health. One-third of MS caregivers reported that they are depressed. Half of respondents said they are physically exhausted, and approximately one-third have been injured as a result of caregiving, such as injuries related to lifting a care recipient.

The survey respondents also provided insight on people with MS. Key findings included the following:

  • A total of 69 percent of people with MS require some type of mobility aid. Of those, 33 percent use a wheelchair.
  • The most common symptoms of MS among this group were walking, balance and coordination. These symptoms also caused the most problems in care.

Download a pdf of the report here.