The financial impact of living with a chronic condition

Birgit Bauer
Written by
Birgit Bauer

Upon receiving a diagnosis like MS, you quickly realize many aspects of your life are about to drastically change. Some change may be slow, but unfortunately, financial change is almost immediate. Questions begin to swirl in your mind, likely the most pressing ones being “Will I be able to do my job in the future?” “Without a stable income, how will I afford my potential care, medicines, and other therapies?” It is a well-known fact that being ill takes a toll not only on your mental and physical well-being, but also your financial stability. Some of the areas that I and others in this community have found impacted the most are:

Income:

Many people, due to pain or fatigue, are forced to reduce the amount of hours they work each week, having an impact on monthly wages. If you’re recently diagnosed or your MS is starting to have a critical impact on your work life, always explore remote working opportunities or reduced working hours with your employer, and don’t be afraid to seek advice from your human resources team.

Household:

No one truly enjoys household chores. Cleaning the bathroom, folding the laundry, and moping the floor bore me just writing about it. But a lot of people do not understand what a luxury it is to be able to accomplish all those tasks without a second thought. Those who have MS may not be able to successfully complete a load of laundry, especially if the washing machine is in the basement. They may not be able to get on their hands and knees to clean the bathtub, or wipe that smudge off the kitchen floor. Keeping your home tidy requires a lot of time, effort, and physical exertion that a person with MS may not be able to handle. I hear stories of people with MS overexerting themselves at home, and further hurting themselves in the process. It can become necessary at times for people with MS to require at home help, and if you believe you could benefit from at home care, you should most definitely do explore the option! Everyone deserves a clean, safe, and comfortable place to live in, those with MS should not suffer due to their illness.

Additional Therapies, Vitamins, & Health Necessities:

Maintaining a balanced lifestyle can help ease the burden of MS, and more often than not, people who have MS require additional therapies, such as osteopathic or certain relaxing techniques that help their joints and muscles. Being able to engage, and more importantly afford, these therapies is a luxury not all MS patients have. These therapies can greatly enhance our quality of life as we battle through this disease. Vitamins are also something that some of us may rely on to help keep us as healthy as possible. In order to afford all these extra necessities, I believe a budget is extremely important.

Barrier Free Houses:

Additional services such as ramps and railings may become necessary fixtures in your home as your MS progresses. Although these additions will cost money, they are essential for your safety and wellbeing. Speak to your healthcare providers about these, as there are often funding and reimbursement schemes in place which can help to cover the cost of maintenance and installation.

This list could go on for pages and pages, but my own personal experiences I always seem to find that my monthly cost seems to be higher than the actual budget I planned out. This post isn’t suggesting that you need to plan out a strict budget and follow it down to the very last penny every month; rather to help you to begin thinking about financial planning and what is best for you in the future. I know the high level of stress that comes with a diagnosis like MS, and I’m even more familiar with the stress that comes with planning your finances around it.

Whether diagnosed with MS or not, money can be a stressful and exhausting topic, so if you’re struggling at all with your finances, seek support and guidance on how to manage the situation. I find that support groups also share great advice on how to deal with finances while ensuring that you’re still living a happy, active and fulfilled life.

How do others deal with the question of money? Interested to hear your ideas and solutions!

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