Don’t Act Your Age

10 Ways to Enhance Quality of Life as You Grow Older with MS

The clinicians and patient advocates interviewed for the accompanying article have a wealth of insights and advice to offer. He­re’s a sampling of their guidance:

Take care of your overall health, paying at-tention to diet, physical activity, sleep, blood pressure, emotional well-being, and other as-pects of health that can reduce the impact of MS and help you avoid or minimize the conse-quences of other conditions, says MS specialist Barry Hendin, MD.

Keep moving with an exercise or physical ac-tivity regimen that an expert has designed based on your needs, abilities, and current health sta-tus, recommends Rachel Bollaert, PhD, who notes that even a little movement can yield a lot of benefit.

Trust your instincts, says Cathy Chester in stressing the importance of self-advocacy.

Don’t let others do unto you what you can do for yourself, advises Terry Hord, adding that this approach to maintaining independence needs to be balanced by a regard for what is safe and realistic.

Help yourself by helping others, and enjoy knowing that despite the challenges you face, you still have a great deal to offer people, says Stuart Schlossman.

Build a team of healthcare professionals who know you, understand your MS and any other conditions you may have, and who will work with you and one another to provide comprehensive care, recommends Ms. Chester.

Don’t wait and worry when you experience troubling symptoms, says Mr. Schlossman, who notes that seeing a clinician without delay will either provide welcome reassurance or timely in-tervention to address any issues.

Think about the things you may not want to think about so that you can make plans and decisions about living arrangements, finances, and other important subjects in your own time, rather than having to make hurried choices – or having limited choices – when situations arise later, recommends Ms. Chester.

Choose your hard, says Mike Zimits, who ex-plains that since there’s nothing easy about MS, you might as well choose the hard path that will provide you with the most benefits and sense of achievement or satisfaction.

Face the future with hope, says Tamara Kahn, noting that what awaits often proves to be much better than one might believe at difficult moments.