Advice For Carers of Fibromyalgia Sufferers
As a person who may live or be close to someone suffering from Fibromyalgia there is a lot of practical advice that can be given. It is important to understand as a carer your own limitations in relation to just how much you can do and also how much the individual suffering from Fibromyalgia can do.
Day to Day PracticalitiesA Fibromyalgia sufferer will doubtlessly have been quite independent before they were afflicted with this condition. Many Fibromyalgia sufferers indeed were previously very energetic and lively and will have spent a great deal of their time on the move. However when the condition takes hold many sufferers find that their level of mobility and also the extent of their physical abilities are seriously hampered: this is where the carer comes in.
As a carer you will undoubtedly be required to help with a lot of the day to day stuff like washing, cooking, cleaning etc. Fibromyalgia sufferers may have periods when their conditions abates and allows them some freedom whilst the more chronic sufferers find that every day presents them with new challenges.
As a carer the first thing you should consider - and it is one of the most important - is how are you going to be able to assist them? If you are in full time employment then it may well be necessary to ask for the help of an outsider such as a home help or indeed a social services appointed carer.
Ensuring that the day to day running of a home is taken care of is one of the first things that should be established.
Getting AroundAs a carer you may well also be charged with the responsibility of making sure the sufferer can get from A to B. The first thing you should be aware of from this aspect of the condition is that a diagnosis is not always forthcoming. Your partner, wife, husband, mother - whoever is suffering from the condition - may have to wait many months before their doctor will finally commit to a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia, just like M.E (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), is very difficult to diagnose and your doctor may have to be quite exhaustive in their search for a diagnosis. During this time you should be aware that as a carer you are not entitled to any assistance and likewise the sufferer is also not entitled to any benefits until they can provide details of a final diagnosis.
This can make getting around difficult especially if the sufferer is unable to move with any great ability or if they cannot drive. Also if they don't have transport of their own they may call on your more frequently to help them get about.
Emotional SupportAs a carer one of the most important aspects of your role will be to provide emotional support. Fibromyalgia sufferers will often suffer bouts of depression especially if they are unable to participate in the activities they used to before the illness struck. Likewise many sufferers find that their sexual appetites diminish which can have a knock on effect if you, the carer, are also their partner or spouse. Emotional support is paramount to helping the sufferer deal with their condition and is one of the most vital aspects of care you can provide.
As a carer you should also make sure that you yourself have time to recharge your batteries as it were. Carers do have an important role to play in the treatment and recuperation of others but is important to ensure that they themselves do not emotionally or physical drain.
You can seek help and advice from your local Social Services Department or Local Authority who can provide you with contacts for respite care should you need to make time for yourself.