ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects spinal cord and brain cell nerves. As it progresses, it causes the patient with ALS to lose control of his muscles – the afflicted person continues to lose the ability to be able to move, swallow and breath. There is no cure for ALS, and sadly, it usually results in death for the person with ALS within five years. If your parent has been diagnosed with ALS and you are helping him to live independently for as long as he’s able, you’re going to need to arrange for several important aspects of his care to help you both through it. Elder care services can assist with his care.
Do your research
Gathering some knowledge on the disease, how it progresses, and what to expect will help you as you travel this road with your parent and other family members. It’ll also help you as you make treatment options. Different doctors may have different ideas of the way to provide the best care and having a base knowledge will guide you through those waters.
Build your team
The mental and physical stress of taking care of someone with ALS can be draining. It’ll be important that you don’t try to do it all on your own. Hiring an elder care provider can be a huge asset for providing care for your parent in the home. If you have family members who are able to step in one way or another, any amount of relief you can receive from them will help you have the needed energy to care for your parent. Find elder care providers that you trust and can speak to openly and honestly about any concerns you may have along the ways.
Stock up on Assistive Devices
As weakness begins to take over more of your parent’s daily life, he may need help getting out of bed or a chair, as well as walking and moving around. Look for assistive devices that he can use, or someone like an elder care provider can use, to help him with tasks around the home such as bathing, cooking, and cleaning.
Manage Mental Health
Many ALS patients will struggle with depression, anger, and anxiety as they live with a disease that has no cure and continues to get worse each month. Be aware of what depression and other mental health issues look and sound like so you can help your parent get the help he needs in those areas as well.
Don’t Forget about Yourself and Rely on Elder Care
As a caregiver, it’ll be important that you take care of yourself so you can care for your aging parent. When an elder care provider visits, use that time to relax and rejuvenate instead of running errands or working on household chores. Ask family members to provide overnight relief if you need to get away for a night. Finding a support group can also be a great way to connect with others going through the same thing, who can listen and provide advice.
Caring for a person with ALS is physically and mentally difficult. In the end, your love, care, and availability are enough. So be kind to yourself and be mindful of your own needs as you take care of your parent’s needs.