Roz Kalb , Psychologist
28 Oct 2018 | ~2:00 Engagement Time
Why Communication is Important When Living With MS
When one person is diagnosed with MS, many other people are involved and affected. The changes brought about by MS can have an impact on those important relationships.
Healthy relationships depend on good communication, mutual respect, trust, and a shared concern for one another’s welfare. MS can challenge even the closest of relationships in a variety of ways:
Effective communication is the key to managing these changes and challenges, and the first step to establishing meaningful communication is to deal with potential obstacles.
Obstacles to Effective Communication
Even the most loving spouse or caring friend can’t read another person’s mind, so the person with MS needs to know how to ask for help when it’s needed, and politely decline when it’s not. Family members, friends, and colleagues need to remember that what they see on the outside may be very different than what the person with MS is experiencing on the inside.
Effective communication takes time and focus, and setting aside the time for important, distraction-free conversations is essential.
It’s important to respecting each other’s communication styles and find comfortable ways to broach even the most sensitive topics.
Mood changes caused by MS can make conversations difficult, as can the problems with attention, memory, and information processing that can occur. Addressing these problems with the healthcare team can have a positive impact on your communication
Tips for Talking
People communicate in many ways – by talking, touching, e-mailing, texting, and so on. Body language is also a form of communication. No matter how you communicate, the goal is to convey messages clearly, respect the feelings of the other person, invite (rather than discourage) a response, and allow time/space for a response. Here are some “Dos” and “Don’ts” for clear communication.