There are few debilitating diseases that are more life-changing than multiple sclerosis.
It’s a neurological condition that blocks the pathways between the nerves and the brain, scrambling signals and seriously affecting a person’s ability to talk, walk and care for themselves. Multiple sclerosis can affect adults at any age, even the elderly. Family caregivers should take the time during National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month to learn more about the disease and how to care for their aging loved one if they are diagnosed.
While MS is not as common in seniors as in younger adults, there are still thousands of elderly adults that are diagnosed each year. Because the symptoms of MS are very similar to other diseases common to seniors, it can often go undiagnosed for too long. As with most diseases, early detection leads to the most effective treatments. One thing that family caregivers can learn from National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month is what symptoms to watch for and when they should take their aging relative into the doctor for an exam.
Common symptoms of MS in seniors include:
- A sudden decline in vision
- Tingling in the fingers and toes
- Numbness in spots
- Extreme fatigue
- Memory recall issues
- Muscle tremors and weakness
- Chronic pain
The symptoms for MS progress rapidly in aging adults, often within a few months.
Family caregivers that recognize the symptoms and make a doctor’s appointment are more likely to get the proper treatment, which includes medication that can ease symptoms and possibly slow down the progression of the MS. When an aging adult learns they have MS, many turn to their doctor for guidance on treatment plans.
Unfortunately, with late-onset multiple sclerosis, elderly adults will experience a somewhat rapid decline in their physical abilities. Family caregivers need to put together a comprehensive in-home care plan for their elderly loved one so that they can continue to age in place and enjoy the highest quality of life possible. Many include hiring home care providers as part of a successful formula of round-the-clock in-home care. From helping seniors bathe, dress and eat to taking care of things around the house, home care providers are more than capable of giving compassionate and comprehensive care to elderly adults with MS.
Not only can home care providers take on the responsibilities of physical care, but they can act as companions and advisors to elderly adults with MS. Doctors recommend that seniors with MS live as healthy as possible, with a good diet, plenty of sleep and as much activity as they can get. Family caregivers have a lot of work ahead of them, but they can do it when they have help from home care providers.
When the goal is to allow an elderly adult with MS to live as long as possible In their own home, family caregivers have a lot of resources available to them through the national campaign of National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month.