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How to Provide Home Care for Older Adults with Lou Gehrig’s Disease

By Home Care Assistance, 9:00 am on

Also known as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Lou Gehrig’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that gradually paralyzes an individual. Researchers know very little about what causes this disorder, but seniors who are diagnosed early can live long and fulfilling lives. If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with ALS, educate yourself about this disease and consider hiring a professional caregiver. 

Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Vancouver, BC, in-home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Here are a few tips to help you provide better care for your elderly loved one with ALS.

Prepare Yourself for Communication Difficulties

Lou Gehrig’s disease can make speaking difficult for seniors. As the disease progresses, you will need to come up with new and unique ways to communicate with your loved one. You can use alphabet boards to interact with your aging loved one or a tablet to draw letters and tap phrases. 

Change Meal Routines

Difficulty swallowing is often one of the first symptoms that affect seniors with ALS, and this issue can be dangerous if caregivers don’t make changes to their loved ones’ meals. As time goes on, you might need to add softer foods to your loved one’s diet. As the disease progresses, seniors may have to rely on liquids and pureed foods. When your loved one is eating, make sure he or she sits on a comfortable chair to prevent choking. 

Assist with Moderate Exercise

One of the most challenging symptoms of Lou Gehrig’s disease is muscle deterioration, which takes place over the course of approximately 10 years. While strenuous exercise can be dangerous, moderate exercise can strengthen the muscles and slow the deterioration. Low-impact movements such as swimming and riding a stationary bike are some of the safest exercise options for seniors with ALS. You should consider hiring a professional caregiver if your aging loved one needs assistance with exercise or other daily tasks.

Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Vancouver, British Columbia, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver.

Track the Symptoms

Just as with other progressive diseases, closely tracking the symptoms of ALS is vital. As the symptoms become worse or new symptoms develop, the doctor may need to make changes to your loved one’s medication. Maintain a log of all pertinent information, including eating habits, weight, sleeping habits, and overall comfort. Many different medications can be used to treat the symptoms of ALS, including glutamate blockers, muscle relaxants, and steroid injections. 

Remain Patient

Providing care for an aging loved one with ALS can be challenging at times. Assisting seniors with bathing, eating, and other basic tasks can become time-consuming and potentially frustrating for caregivers. If you are having a difficult time staying calm, take a break and ask for help.

Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Vancouver families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation. If your elderly loved one needs assistance with exercise, bathing, cooking, or other daily activities, call Home Care Assistance at 778-279-3634 today.