Signs and Symptoms of ALS in Seniors

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a disease that affects the neurons that control the muscles of the body. It is a progressive disease that usually affects adults over the age of 40, and it is common in elderly adults. There is no cure for ALS and the progression of the disease usually leaves seniors in wheelchairs using respirators after several years. It’s a devastating diagnosis, but aging adults can work with their support team to slow down the progress and make the most of living at home with ALS.

When family caregivers learn about the different stages of ALS and the associated symptoms, they’ll have a better idea of how they can help their aging loved one along the way.

 

Early Stage Symptoms of ALS in Seniors

Home Care Stuart Fl ALS in Seniors

Home Care Stuart Fl ALS in Seniors

At first, many of the early symptoms of ALS resemble other types of physical decline that are associated with age. It usually begins with weakened and stiff muscles, cramps and light muscle spasms, usually in the arms and legs. Other symptoms in the early stage include poor balance, stumbling when walking, slurring some words and chronic tiredness. Seniors may also experience some difficulty swallowing as well.

Middle Stage Symptoms of ALS in Seniors

After several months or year, aging adults reach the middle stage of the disease. Symptoms are more pronounced and affect a greater area over the body. It’s likely that some muscles can be completely paralyzed while others are simply weak. Breathing and swallowing are more labored and the aging adult may be in more pain as joints stiffen. Aging adults with this stage of MLS may need to use a feeding tube and certainly have 24-hour care. A ventilator can ease weak breathing habits and provide better oxygenation of the bloodstream.

Late Stage Symptoms of ALS in Seniors

As the muscles lose their abilities, seniors at this stage are mostly paralyzed and dependent on family care providers and home care providers to help them in every part of daily life. Many can no longer talk or eat on their own. They can use adaptive tools from wheelchairs and communication devices to ventilators and feeding tubes. Lift chairs, raised toilet seats, and other modifications to the home may be needed to accommodate the symptoms of ALS at this stage.

Caring for Seniors with ALS

When family caregivers make the decision to care for an elderly loved one with ALS, they need to gather a solid support network around them. This group should include other family members, doctors, therapists, senior organizations and most importantly, a home care provider. The senior needs to stay physically and mentally active for as long as possible, and home care providers can assist with things like self-care, meal preparation, laundry, light housekeeping, grooming and more.

Just because an elderly relative has ALS doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of good years ahead of them where they can laugh, share memories, learn new things and enjoy the company of friends and family members. It’s up to family caregivers to make their aging loved one’s life as pleasant as possible with ALS.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care in Stuart, FL, please call the caring staff at Activa Home Health Care at (561) 819-4112. Serving Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Wellington, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach and surrounding communities.