Affecting only about 2 per 100,000 people in the U.S., amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is one of the lesser known and understood muscular diseases. Although it eventually significantly impacts the ability to perform tasks of daily living, such as walking, speaking, and writing, it does nothing to diminish cognitive abilities; and with some adaptations, life for those with ALS can still incorporate a high level of independence and dignity.
The following are some strategies that we teach our caregivers at AAging Better to use, as well as, encourage the family caregivers of our clients to use in order to help maximize the quality of life for their loved one with ALS:
People with muscle diseases, such as ALS, are capable thinkers even if they can’t communicate clearly. Discuss choices openly and make joint decisions regarding the person's medical care or their wishes regarding the various decisions they face each day.
Ask if the person wants help before helping. Don’t just assume they need help every time and take over tasks that can still be performed if the person is given adaptive devices and the time to accomplish the task. Contol of our lives and what happens to us each day is of critical importance to virtually everyone. ALS patients are no different.
While sometimes it seems faster and easier for you to take over certain tasks, be patient and let the person complete the tasks that he or she can.
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.
ALS presents daily challenges but at AAging Better In-Home Care, we believe in facing challenges head-on and with creativity, patience, and determination! Call us at 208-777-0308 or toll-free at 866-464-2344 to learn how our in-home senior care services can help improve quality of life for those with ALS, including:
Meal planning and preparation
Light housekeeping and laundry
Assistance with hygiene
Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments, shopping, and outings
Skilled nursing care through our RNs and LPNs
And much more
You’ve always got a partner in care with Aaging Better In-Home Care!