When MS Makes Indulgences Unaffordable Necessities
There is an unfortunate intersection of need for services and unaffordability for many with chronic illnesses.
By Trevis Gleason
In This Series
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When I was young and at school, the term “latchkey kids” really took off. From its origins during World War II, it wasn’t used much again until its revival for my classmates in the late 1970s and into the 1980s.
For reasons of necessity, career pursuit, or a few extra dollars for the niceties of life, more and more mothers were working full-time jobs as I went through my school days.
This led to an increased standard of living for many in America (and elsewhere in the world) as we grew into adulthood. Things that were once considered opulent became more regularly ascribed “indulgences,” and might even have been considered deserved pampering and reward for a hard week’s work.
Growing up, the idea of hiring a housekeeper or going to a shop for a pedicure or hot-towel shave would have been as foreign to my family as the menus that grace my adult dining table. These things were just not affordable, expected, nor really even considered.
Now, they are often a norm (or at least more regular niceties) for hard-working families with a bit of fiscal space for such things.
RELATED:Look Your Best With MS: Grooming Tips for Men and Women
When Former ‘Indulgences’ Become Necessities
As with so many parts of living with a chronic illness like multiple sclerosis (MS), we find ourselves at a crossroads where some of these indulgences are becoming requirements at the same time as our earning power has decreased to the point that they have become as posh as they would have been to families in my middle-American youth.
Simple (to most people) acts of grooming, like trimming toenails or even shaving, can require assistance when MS comes thieving. A little nick caused by MS tremor while attending to the body with sharp objects can lead to infection — and we know what that means for MS!
Membership in a health club with a pool might be the best way for someone with MS to exercise and keep cool, but the need arises at the same time the budget shrinks due to the next prescription copay.
Dust might begin to stack up as energy (or ability) keeps us from cleaning chores, yet a reduced income blocks our ability to pay a housekeeper to come in and help.
RELATED:How to Keep the House Clean Without Exhausting Yourself When You Have MS
Assistance Programs Help, but Need Remains
There are assistance programs for many aspects of living with MS. Many people couldn’t live a life even close to “normal” without such financial help. But for most, this time of need hitting up against affordability leaves them with need but too much means to qualify.
Also, what many of us know as growing need is seen by society as extravagance, and may not be addressed by publicly financed assistance programs.
MS is a neurological disease. It is an inflammatory disease. MS usually falls under the category of autoimmune disease.
Multiple sclerosis is also a disease of significant financial drain at the same time it reduces earning power.
I’m not whinging; simply stating a fact that many of us with MS know too well. Maybe it’s an aspect of MS others don’t think about, but those of us living at the juncture of increasing need and diminishing resources know very well.
Wishing you and your family the best of health.
My book, Chef Interrupted, is available on Amazon. Follow me on the Life With MS Facebook page and on Twitter, and read more on Life With Multiple Sclerosis.
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