If your loved one has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the condition might worsen as they age. While you may have been able to take care of your loved one on your own, you might find that it is becoming harder to do so. To do what is best for your loved one, you might consider hiring a home health care aide. The aide can assist you in taking care of your loved one, or sending them to a facility that can manage this illness. Here, I will discuss ALS. Learn about proper and improper care of the disease. Also fine out how you can best help your loved one suffering from this illness.
What is ALS?
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease. It affects a person’s brain and spinal cord nerve cells. It is a progressive disease, meaning that it will worsen over time. As motor neurons in the spinal cord die, a person loses their ability to control muscle movement. This will lead to the inability to move, speak, eat, and even breathe.
There are two major forms of ALS – familial and sporadic. Familial ALS is inherited. If a person has familial ALS, there is a 50% chance that their children will also develop this disease. Sporadic ALS, on the other hand, means that it is not genetic. Around 95% of ALS cases are sporadic.
ALS generally has a gradual onset. Early symptoms might include:
- Difficulty walking.
- Weakness in feet, ankles, or legs.
- Difficulty grasping objects.
- Slurred speech.
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Muscle cramps.
- Twitching in shoulders, arms, and tongue.
- Difficulty holding good posture.
There is currently no cure for ALS, or any way to reverse it. Instead, treatment focuses on slowing the progression of the disease and preventing complications. A doctor will likely prescribe medication to relieve some of the common symptoms of ALS. Also, your loved one might attend various types of therapy. This might include physical therapy, breathing therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. Because the diagnosis of ALS can lead to depression or other mental issues, psychological and social support may be necessary. As always, a nutritious, balanced diet can have a positive impact on your loved one’s health.
In the beginning stages of ALS, you might find that you have no trouble taking care of your loved one by yourself. But, as the disease progresses, this may become more and more difficult. You may choose to hire a home health aide to assist you and your loved one in day-to-day tasks. In the later stages of the disease, this help might not be enough. You should consider sending your loved one to a specialized care facility that works with patients with neuromuscular diseases such as ALS. These places can and should help your loved one with:
- Muscle strengthening exercises.
- Eating healthily or eating through a feeding tube, if necessary.
- Cleaning your loved one’s feeding tube.
- Transportation to and from doctor’s visits.
- A consistent and proper medication schedule.
- Mental stimulation and support. Many people with ALS struggle with depression and other issues.
- Speech therapy.
- Help with day-to-day tasks.
If your loved one’s care gets neglected or abused whatsoever, it can greatly harm them. If you suspect that caretakers are neglecting to help your loved one with items on the above list, and your loved one is injured as a result, you might have a personal injury case.