Cover Story: Care Partners

The People Who Make a Difference in Our Lives

By Maryann B. Hunsberger

Photo of a couple embracing

Most major life changes come with advance notice. Weddings are preceded by engagements. Births follow pregnancies. Graduations come after education. Disability, however, arrives with no notification. While MS sometimes enters a life in stages, the onset is still a surprise.

Becoming a care partner is the same way. An individual suddenly becomes responsible for another with no notice. Even after years of caring for another’s wellbeing, the effort can be daunting, especially without the right direction. The proper resources, however, can both inform and encourage care partners in the task of supporting another.

This article is a resource that care providers and people with MS can use for information and reinforcement. Understanding the responsibilities and subtleties of being a care partner can assist individuals in planning ahead and being prepared for issues that might arise.

Although the demands may be great, being a care partner can be rewarding for all involved, providing essential physical, emotional, and social support for the person with MS. A care partner relationship also allows friends and family members to feel needed and grow closer with the individual receiving care.

Lara Krawchuk, MSW, LCSW, MPH, a therapist, professor, wellness educator, and the founder and owner of Healing Concepts, LLC, points out, “Being a care partner may bring pride and hope and resilience. Care partners realize they are handling something that others might not be able to cope with, helping them feel stronger.”

Please note that individuals with MS who don’t have care partners can also make use of the information provided in this article.