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By Elaine Douglas, The MSA Coalition Board of Directors

So much to do. So much our loved one can’t do. We now do the cooking, the shopping, the planning, communicating with family and friends. And pretty soon, we’re doing it all.

We’ve forgotten that we’re a “partner” and there’s another person in this relationship.

Sure, there are some things that we have to take on. But we don’t have to take over. In fact, doing everything can intensify our partner’s feelings of uselessness and deepen the depression that MSA tends to bring on.

How do we maintain our loved ones’ independence and morale by providing them with the right amount of support to optimize their functioning?

That’s the question posed in 4 Ways a Caregiver Can Encourage a Loved One’s Independence*, an article on AARP’s Family Caregiver Website.

For example, even if your partner can’t run to the grocery store, they may be able to order groceries online – or even dictate a list for you. Perhaps they can decide the menu for a family dinner, describe how they made their signature dish, call family members, make lists using Echo or recording function on a phone, help you plan for an outing, choose plants for the garden, make decisions about how to spend the day.

Feeling that they are contributing to the household and the family, even when their abilities are limited, can make a huge difference for your partner.

Remember: You may be able to do things quicker and even better. So what?

The MSA Trust said it well:

Your aim should be to help the person living with MSA maintain their quality of life and independence as best as possible.**

You are partners. Face MSA together!