When diagnosed with a disease that limits one’s functions, many find that retaining some independence can help fuel a fighting spirit. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a life-changing neurodegenerative disease that robs a person of many everyday abilities. It’s a very difficult diagnosis to hear but there are many strategies that can help a person with ALS or another muscle disease retain the highest possible degree of independence. Here are a few of those strategies:
People with muscle diseases, such as ALS, are capable thinkers, even if they can’t communicate clearly. Family members should discuss choices openly and make joint decisions regarding the person's medical care.
Ask if the person wants help before trying to help them. Don’t take over tasks that still can be performed if the person is given adaptive devices and time.
While sometimes it seems faster and easier for you to take over certain tasks, be patient and let the person with ALS complete the tasks that he or she can still do.
Set up a computer and Internet access. Help locate and install adaptive technologies that enable computer use when movement is limited or absent. Computers provide entertainment and social interaction and enable the person with muscle disease to help with tasks such as paying bills, tracking down information, hiring services, and grocery shopping.
Use adaptive devices. The use of assistive equipment like wheelchairs is a move toward independence, not away from it. Adaptive devices are available for many everyday tasks such as eating, opening jars and doors, buttoning or zipping up clothing, writing and taking a bath.
Living with ALS is a daily challenge, but met with patience and persistence, ALS patients can live full, meaningful lives. At AAging Better In-Home Care, our caregivers work hard to make every day less of a struggle for those in our care. With services ranging from help with meals, transportation or light housekeeping to skilled nursing care around the clock, our experienced and compassionate team of aging care experts is just a phone call away.
Contact us today at 208.777.0308 to schedule a freee in-home assessment or learn more about the specialized assistance we can provide for persons with ALS.