Connection with others

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It’s vital for people living with multiple sclerosis to have a network of people around them that they can trust, and who will be there when they need it most. The MS community is wonderfully supportive, and there are many ways to stay connected to each other. Whether someone is newly diagnosed, living well with the disease, a carer of a loved one, a friend wanting to help, or a health professional wanting to find out more – we can help connect them with others in a meaningful way.

How do we provide this?

Featured service: MS Peer Support

MS Peer SupportThere are many reasons why a person affected by multiple sclerosis might join an MS Peer Support group. Whether they’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or are caring from someone living with the condition, it’s one of the best means to access information on a disease that can be confronting, challenging and confusing.
But it quickly grows from there, as Tasmanian MS Peer Support Coordinator Robin explains.

“Each person’s multiple sclerosis is their own particular and peculiar disease, but an MS Peer Support group also brings together the connections and similarities,” he says.

“Not only can the group provide some of the answers to the many questions the disease presents, but 
it also becomes a forum to discuss its many variations and continuing changes.

“In many groups – particularly mine in North-West Tasmania – close friendships have been formed, which allow participants to discuss issues they might not be talk about with non-MSers. This is not because the issues are deeply personal or confronting, but more the fact that other people living with multiple sclerosis or caring for someone who does just ‘get it’.

“A neurologist knows all the science and physiology behind the disease and can prescribe the appropriate treatments; a doctor can manage various day-to-day issues, and nurses can help with medication and everything else – but none of these highly trained medical professionals live with the disease. People in the MS group do and can relate to, and understand, issues such as neuropathic pain or fatigue, for example.

“A group can also be an important social outlet, as many people living with multiple sclerosis increasingly become isolated from the community. Most groups have an end-of-year function such as a Christmas lunch, and many start off the year with a barbecue and also have a mid-year lunch.”

For those with higher needs, complicated schedules or who live in remote parts of the country, we also provide MS Peer Support telegroups, which can be accessed easily and conveniently and provide many of the benefits that people such as Robin hold so dear.

“The advantages of joining an MS Peer Support group are many and worth the effort,” Robin says.

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