Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
About MyMSTeam

For Many With MS, Well-Being Increases With Age

Posted on October 09, 2018

We saw this same pattern in people with MS. Older patients with MS reported less depression and better quality of life compared to younger people.

By Serena Gordon, HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Living with a potentially disabling condition like multiple sclerosis (MS) can be difficult, but new research suggests patients get better at dealing with it over time.

"There's an aging paradox in healthy adults. We expect people who are older to be more depressed and anxious because of aging processes [such as physical aches and pain and losing friends and family], but instead, people who are older tend to be less depressed and have better well-being in comparison to younger adults," said study author Yael Goverover.

"We saw this same pattern in people with MS. Older patients with MS reported less depression and better quality of life compared to younger people," Goverover explained. She's an associate professor of occupational therapy at New York University, and a visiting scientist at the Kessler Foundation in East Hanover, N.J.

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. It disrupts communication between nerve cells in the brain, and it also interferes with the ability of the brain to communicate with the body.

The disease is typically diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 50, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Symptoms of MS include fatigue, pain, numbness, tingling, dizziness, vision problems and walking difficulties. There is no cure for MS, but medications and therapies help manage it.

The study included 57 people with MS. The researchers divided them into three different age ranges: 35 to 44, 45 to 54 and 55 to 65. The participants completed several tests to measure their quality of life and depression levels.

The researchers controlled the data for a number of factors, such as the length of time with the disease and the severity of the disease.

They found significant differences in depression and quality of life between each group. The oldest people had the lowest levels of depression and higher levels of well-being.

Goverover said the researchers were somewhat surprised by the findings, but suspect older people may have developed more resources to deal with the illness.

"The good news is that with age comes wisdom, and people learn to accept the changes that come with MS," she said.

Goverover said the study wasn't designed to tease out the specific reasons why older people seem to be more content. But she suspects that older people with MS have more experience with the disease.

"The more you go through, you learn to expect changes, and know the next phase will come and you'll readjust. As you get older, you know more about what to expect with MS," she said.

Goverover said younger people with MS shouldn't hesitate to get help if they're feeling depressed. "Don't wait to get help. There are pharmacological treatments and behavioral and cognitive therapies that can help," she noted.

Judy Malinowski, a psychologist with Ascension Eastwood Behavioral Health in Novi, Mich., said she wasn't surprised by the findings.

"I think with maturity and age, we have the opportunity for greater acceptance. For people with MS, they've dealt with symptoms and learned different coping skills and you've learned to live with MS. If you're younger, you're not quite sure yet," said Malinowski, who wasn't involved with the study.

She added that as people age, they learn the importance of taking care of themselves.

"You realize along the way that self-care and the ability to manage stress can have an impact on your health. How we feel and how we look at life affects how we function physically. And, as you get older with MS, because you have an increased challenge, you have to learn to take better care of yourself," she said.

Malinowski said that as you get older, it often becomes easier to look at life's challenges as opportunities for growth.

"You can let a challenge control you, or you can try to rise above it and see it as an opportunity. When you look at something differently, it changes," she noted.

The study was published recently in the journal Rehabilitation Psychology.
Copyright © 2018 HealthDay All rights reserved.

Here are some question-and-answer from MyMSTeam:

Are there any older people who were diagnosed with MS at a young age who are living healthy happy lives now?

How many of you have older blood relatives with MS?

Do you grieve your old self before the MS?

Here are some conversations from MyMSTeam:

"Everyone says 'But you look fine!' No one around me, besides my kids, understands what I go thru on a daily basis. It's draining."

"I feel like the day of my diagnosis I lost the person I was and my world color to grey. It’s getting brighter slowly and I’m learning that the “old me” is still here!"

"I concluded that the things they said were going to happen to me weren't going to happen like tomorrow, and even if they did, I would figure them out when they happened. That no matter what happens to me I'm going to be OK..."

Have you been able to come to terms with your MS diagnosis as you've gotten older? What has helped you maintain self-care and control stress? Share below or directly on MyMSTeam.

A MyMSTeam Member said:

SamanthaErinbachSorry you’re having a difficult day. Maybe if you read a book or listen to soft music it will help? God bless you and keep you safe.

posted 7 months ago

hug (1)

Recent articles

Mht ad dr boster qa part 2 v02.015
Back by popular demand! Dr. Aaron Boster joins MyMSTeam cofounder and COO, Mary Ray, for another...

How To Manage Your MS Symptoms and the Side Effects of Treatments With Dr. Boster

Back by popular demand! Dr. Aaron Boster joins MyMSTeam cofounder and COO, Mary Ray, for another...
Mht dr boster internal ad post event carousel
Medically reviewed by Aaron Boster, M.D. Dr. Aaron Boster brought his characteristic energy and...

Dr. Boster Gets Real Answering Your Top MS Questions

Medically reviewed by Aaron Boster, M.D. Dr. Aaron Boster brought his characteristic energy and...
Mht mymsteam resourcecenter article3 carousel managing ms leg weakness
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Medically reviewed by Dr. Amit ShelatLegs like jelly or noodles,...

Managing MS Leg Weakness

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Medically reviewed by Dr. Amit ShelatLegs like jelly or noodles,...
Mht mymsteam resourcecenter article1 carousel ms fatigue how to fight fatigue with ms
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Medically reviewed by Dr. Amit ShelatFatigue is a very common...

MS Fatigue: How to Fight Fatigue with MS

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Medically reviewed by Dr. Amit ShelatFatigue is a very common...
Mht mymsteam resourcecenter article2 carousel managing ms muscle weakness
Article written by Kelly Crumrin Medically reviewed by Dr. Amit ShelatIn people with multiple...

Managing MS Muscle Weakness

Article written by Kelly Crumrin Medically reviewed by Dr. Amit ShelatIn people with multiple...
Screen shot 2020 03 04 at 2.57.32 pm
Article written by Laurie Berger Medically reviewed by Dr. Amit ShelatThe MS hug is a painful...

The MS Hug Explained: Description, Symptoms, and Causes

Article written by Laurie Berger Medically reviewed by Dr. Amit ShelatThe MS hug is a painful...
Scale 403585 1920
Article written by Alison Channon Medically reviewed by Dr. Amit ShelatMaintaining a healthy...

Weight Gain and MS

Article written by Alison Channon Medically reviewed by Dr. Amit ShelatMaintaining a healthy...
Brain lesions in ms
Article written by Nyaka Mwanza Brain lesions in multiple sclerosis are caused by an abnormal...

Brain Lesions in MS: What You Must Know

Article written by Nyaka Mwanza Brain lesions in multiple sclerosis are caused by an abnormal...
Mht video ms   covid 19 an interview  with  dr. aaron boster vertical04 carousel
Article written by Eric Peacock Medically reviewed by Dr. Aaron BosterAccording to Dr. Aaron...

MS Treatments and COVID-19: What to Discuss With Your Neurologist

Article written by Eric Peacock Medically reviewed by Dr. Aaron BosterAccording to Dr. Aaron...
Mht covid19 essentialupdates carousel
During the COVID-19 pandemic, MyMSTeam will provide summaries and links to articles of importance...

COVID-19 and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Essential Updates

During the COVID-19 pandemic, MyMSTeam will provide summaries and links to articles of importance...
MyMSTeam My multiple sclerosis Team

Two Ways to Get Started with MyMSTeam

Become a Member

Connect with others who are living with multiple sclerosis. Get members only access to emotional support, advice, treatment insights, and more.

sign up

Become a Subscriber

Get the latest articles about multiple sclerosis sent to your inbox.

Not now, thanks

Privacy policy
MyMSTeam My multiple sclerosis Team

Thank you for signing up.

close