Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 6611 MSFocus Summer 2016 as active as you can, participate as much as you can, and take care of yourself as only you can. When you do these things, lessons for the little ones will be clear as you work through this diagnosis together. Modifications put you in charge Many active families worry that MS may change their lifestyle. While it is true that you may need to modify your activities, you are still able to participate and engage in life with your family and friends. It is important to talk to your doctor, as well as your physical therapist and occupational therapist, about tools that may help. If you need to utilize a scooter or a wheelchair to access your community, then by all means, do. While using assistive devices may feel like you are “giving in” to the disease, it is really quite the opposite – you are fighting the good fight by saying, “This disease will not define my access to activities with my family and friends.” There are many aids that can help with moving and conserving energy, including canes, walkers, and wheelchairs.There are also a variety of assistive devices related to daily living such as sock aids, reachers, a rocker knife, etc. that can help make regular activities a little bit easier. Bearing the financial burden Financial concerns exist for everyone, whether or not you are living with a chronic condition. But the stakes are higher when it concerns your ability to work. It is important to think about future work goals, look at where you currently stand with financial needs, and examine what resources you have available. If you are currently working, make sure to know for what type of benefits you are eligible. If you have access to an employer-provided group disability insurance policy, take advantage of that. This is not something you may need in the near future (or ever), but it is a safety net that would provide you a portion of your salary if you are deemed disabled in the future. Sign up as soon as you have access, because there may be a waiting period before you can receive the plan benefit. By starting the clock on a waiting period, you will be prepared if the need arises to use the disability plan in the future. You are not alone Changes in family dynamics can be a challenge, but help is available. One option is that you can talk to professionals who can help you navigate these changes. Many MS centers have counselors or social workers on staff to provide a safe place to discuss family dynamics, changes in your normal routine, and any other feelings you may have. Local support groups offer a great opportunity to interact with others and hear about situations similar to yours. Always keep your doctor up-to-date on how you feel, physically and mentally. They may find that a combination of therapy and prescription medication may be just what you need for optimal health. It is important to remember your