As a family caregiver, you are probably always on the lookout for signs and symptoms of illness in your aging loved one. Seniors have a much higher risk of developing diseases than younger adults, so it’s important to keep an eye on anything out of the ordinary. Such symptoms could be a clue that your aging mom or dad’s health is on the line. Early diagnosis is often critical in how seriously the disease affects your elderly relative’s life and how effective treatment by a doctor will be.
ALS affects the neurons that control the muscles, so as the disease progresses, the senior loses the ability to move well. When it comes to watching for symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as ALS, family caregivers who are familiar with common signs will be able to get medical help for their aging parent right away.
Symptoms of ALS in Aging Adults
It’s not unusual for seniors to display some of the common symptoms of ALS yet have the disease go undiagnosed and therefore untreated for a while. The symptoms of ALS mimic many age-related issues, so observers and even the seniors themselves attribute muscle tremors, weakness, spasms, and difficulty swallowing and breathing as other conditions. In the later stages of the disease, seniors will be confined to a wheelchair and may need assistance with breathing and feeding.
Symptoms generally appear in adults over the age of 50, and once diagnosed, the aging adults usually have between three and ten years before they experience respiratory failure. If family caregivers suspect ALS and bring the symptoms to the attention of the doctor, they can run tests. Depending on the test results, the doctor will likely start the aging adult on some medication to slow the progressing of the disease.
Caring for Aging Parents with ALS
Family caregivers with an elderly mom or dad who has been diagnosed with ALS must be prepared to enact some significant lifestyle changes on behalf of their aging loved one. In the early stages, seniors will need help doing basic tasks, so they can rest. Many people hire home care providers because they can help the senior with laundry, meal preparation and personal/self-care.
As the disease progresses, the aging adults will be confined to a wheelchair and need a respirator to help them breathe. Many seniors want to remain in their home even in the later stages. Home care providers can be a valuable part of the team that family caregivers assemble to give the best care possible to their aging loved one.
Early Detection Triggers Early Education
Most people don’t know much about the details of ALS, so if your elderly mom or dad has suddenly developed muscle weakness, tremors and breathing or swallowing difficulties, get them to the doctor for an exam. Education and a treatment plan can make all the difference in how you and others support your aging parent as they create a new normal in living with ALS.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care in Westminster, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare West Denver. Call today: (720) 263-6060.