Multiple Sclerosis Pathway - Community Resources
The following lists are meant to give you an idea of the many community resources available to support your physical, mental and financial health. In order to find specific resources in your community, we encourage you to use the following navigation services.
On this page, you will find information on the following community resources:
- MS Society
- 211 Saskatchewan
- Assistive Equipment and Aids
- Driving and Transportation
- Physical Exercise
- Crisis Contacts
- Employment and Education
- Income and Financial Assistance
- Family and Caregiver Support
The MS Society of Canada provides access to navigators who are informed about MS-specific challenges. They can help you find appropriate resources in your community and work with you on solutions. Talk to MS Navigators by phone (1-844-859-6789) or web chat at mssociety.ca.
Whether you're seeking support for yourself, trying to find peers in the MS community, or are a caregiver, the MS Canada team has programs & services for you. Contact MS Navigators at 1-844-859-6789, by via LiveChat, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect with trained professionals to help you find community, health and government services in Saskatchewan. Information is available 24/7 and operators can serve you over the phone in 175 languages, including 17 Indigenous languages.
- Dial or text 211
Assistive equipment and aids
Whether you have a permanent disability or you are dealing with temporary relapse, assistive devices are tools that can conserve your energy and make you safer and more comfortable doing tasks of daily living. Examples include:
- Mobility aids – from canes to walkers to wheelchairs and scooters
- Safety aids – grab bars for bathing, pot guards for kitchen safety, medic-alert services
- Labour saving devices – electric can-openers, reachers, gliding drawers and cupboards, (also labour-saving strategies for organizing your environment)
- Modifications at work – arm rests and modified chairs or keyboards
While over-the-counter tools (like canes or reachers) are often available in pharmacies, it is wise to consult with a physiatrist or an occupational therapist about your needs before you make purchases. Professionals can give you information about the full range of appropriate tools based on your unique needs, make recommendations for you, and advise about funding supports. In addition to tools, professionals and peer support organizations can make suggestions for strategies.
Some financial support programs may be available when major purchases or retrofits are required:
- Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
- Kinsmen Foundation
- SaskTel services for special communication needs
- Sask. Aids to Independent Living (SAIL) Program
- SK Housing Corporation: Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program
Driving and transportation
People with MS need to get around. However, there are a number of ways that MS symptoms can affect your ability to operate a vehicle – which can affect your safety and the safety of others. A person with MS should be aware of potential changes in reflexes, eyesight, muscle weakness, and cognition, and be responsible when making the decision to get behind the wheel. Your MS care team may arrange for you to take drivers tests periodically.
Some transport options include:
- Modifications: Modifications can be made to vans or SUVs – including hand controls, ramps and wheelchair access.
- Parking: Disabled Parking Permits
- Public transportation: including para transit services, accessible city buses - contact your local city transit department
- Accessible vans and taxi services (may be offered by community based organizations or by private companies)
- Accessible car and van rentals
Physical activity is more than just a pleasant pastime – it is a prescription for a healthier life with MS. Most people with mild to moderate MS can enjoy almost any type of physical activity – just start slow and build up. If you prefer modified or supervised exercise programs, check to see what is offered in your community for people with limitations caused by MS or other chronic conditions.
Examples of modified exercise programs:
- Support Programs - MS Canada
- Exercise and Physical Activity - MS Canada
- Community-based programs for people with disabilities - check recreation and leisure guides for your community
- Forever in motion – physical activity programs for older adults and people with physical limitations
- Paralympic and wheelchair sports (you don’t have to be in a wheelchair all the time)
- UK MS Trust Mr. Motivator videos
- NeuroSask Active and Connected
Navigating bureaucracy or speaking up to people and organizations with authority can be very difficult. People with MS can take advantage of experienced advocates to explain programs and entitlements to them in easy-to-understand terms, and to be on their side if they are treated unfairly. Some advocates include:
- Disability Claims Advocacy phone: 306-988-1246, toll free: 1-877-790-6339
- Advocate for Change - MS Canada
- SK Human Rights Commission
- Provincial Ombudsman
Peer networks and support groups also play an important role in sharing information, giving confidence, and working for change. The MS Society can help you connect with a peer group in your area. Some provincial and national networks include:
- The Canadian Farmers with Disabilities Registry (CFWDR)
- SK First Nations Network on Disabilities (NGO)– Saskatoon: 306-665-1215
- SK Voice of People with Disabilities
- Disabled Women’s Network (DAWN)
There is no doubt that living with MS takes a toll on people and families. Some neurological changes associated with MS can affect mood, emotions, and behaviour. Medications can also have such effects on some people. And on top of that, there can be stress, anger, disappointment, and fear when dealing with a chronic condition. A MS care team tries hard to manage these symptoms proactively, but if things get out of hand, there are community resources at hand. Call 911 or an appropriate community resource for help:
- Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
- Mobile Crisis Helpline: Regina: 306-757-0127, Saskatoon: 306-933-6200
- Suicide Prevention and Support Helpline: Regina: 306-525-5333, Saskatoon: 306-933-6200, Prince Albert: 306-764-1011
- Child Abuse Helpline: Regina: 306-569-2724, Saskatoon: 306-933-6200, Prince Albert: 306-764-1011
- Farm Stress Line - SK: 1-800-667-4442
- Senior Abuse and Neglect Response: Regina: 306-757-0127, Saskatoon: 306-933-6200, Prince Albert: 306-764-1011
- Self-referral form - Mental Health and Addiction Services Centralized Intake (Saskatoon)
- Community Adult Mental Health Services - Mental Health and Addiction Services (Saskatoon Health Region)
Employment and education
Many people are diagnosed with MS early in life, and may be concerned about their ability to work Typically, MS does not prevent people from having a career – and should not prevent you from pursuing education and job opportunities. People who experience symptoms from their MS – either temporary relapses or progressive disability – are entitled to reasonable accommodations at work and at school. Accommodations can include things like:
- Modified conditions for taking exams and submitting assignments
- Special equipment and assistive devices
- Adjusted hours of work
- Adjusted tasks if possible
- Retraining for a more suitable role in the workplace
- Reserved parking
By law, you cannot be refused a job for which you are qualified, fired or expelled because of a disability, but at the same time you cannot be paid your wages or awarded a degree unless you can complete assigned tasks. It is important to communicate with your employer or academic institution about your needs and abilities, take advantage of accommodations, and inform yourself about your sick leave entitlements and other provisions for leave and medical supports.
Employment counselling and supports:
- SK Abilities - Partners in Employment
- The Ability Hub, Saskatoon
- South SK Independent Living Centre (SSILC), Regina
- SK Government: Employability Assistance for Persons with Disabilities
If symptoms require you to change jobs, some resources are:
Income and financial assistance
Most people with MS can expect to have many disability-free years. But as disability starts to accumulate, it can have an effect on financial well-being in the form of reduced income (due to reduced work hours or changes in employment status) and higher costs of living (due to medical expenses, assistive devices, transportation, or hiring people to do things you can no longer do.) It’s a good idea to get advice early on about financial decisions and planning.
People with MS may have access to a variety of programs for extended insurance coverage, income replacement, support and financial planning. Visit the Government of Canada “benefits finder” for a customized list of federal and provincial programs available to you.
Financial benefits and assistance programs
Disability tax credit (DTC) - Government of Canada
Registered disability savings plan (RDSP) - Government of Canada
EI sickness benefits - Government of Canada
Canada pension disability plan (CPP) - Government of Canada
Medical expenses deductions - Government of Canada
Canada caregiver Credit (CCC) - Government of Canada
EI caregiving benefits and EI compassionate care benefits - Government of Canada
Home accessibility tax credit (HATC) - Government of Canada
Federal government grocery rebate - Government of Canada
Para program through Saskatchewan aids to independent living (SAIL) program - Government of Saskatchewan
Funding info and application - Kinsmen Telemiracle
Home repair program - Government of Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan assured income for disability (SAID) program - Government of Saskatchewan
Supplementary health benefits - Government of Saskatchewan
Special support program - Government of Saskatchewan
Low income bus pass - Government of Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan housing benefit - Government of Saskatchewan
Personal care home benefit (PCHB) for patients over the age of 65 - Government of Saskatchewan
It is important to know what medical expenses are covered in Saskatchewan and what is not covered. If you have access to private medical insurance be aware of what types of benefits are available. Provincial income support programs (such as social assistance and SAID) include extended coverage for health-related expenses such as medical transportation, eyeglasses, therapy services, etc. For major capital expenses, charitable organizations may be able to help.
Family and caregiver supports
A person diagnosed with MS is not the only one who experiences the disease. In many cases, the whole family – whoever that might be – is affected by the diagnosis. Statistics show that with MS, like most chronic conditions, more hours of care are provided by family members than by health care professionals. While caring for loved ones is an important and rewarding experience, care givers have to be aware of their own needs and take advantage of community supports that provide knowledge and resources, respite care, encouragement and help.
The Canadian Mental Health Association Saskatchewan Division offers a special program designed to support and educate anyone who provides assistance to vulnerable people. Caregiver Affected Recovery Education (C.A.R.E.) recognizes the important contributions of both professional caregivers and informal caregivers, and emphasizes the importance of self-care and other important tools to help caregivers stay healthy amidst your responsibilities.
- To find out more about the Caregiver Affected Recovery Education program contact the Canadian Mental Health Association Saskatchewan Division (1-800-461-5483, email@example.com) or search on Facebook for C.A.R.E.SK.
- Caregivers can also access peer support (local or on-line) through the MS Society of Canada, call toll-free 1-800-268-7582 (Monday through Friday), extension 3149.
- Government of SK: People with Disabilities – family & social supports
- Caregiver Information & Support – a program of the Saskatoon Council on Aging
- Government of SK: Employability Assistance for Persons with Disabilities