How to Provide Care for a Senior with Lou Gehrig’s Disease

By , 9:00 am on

Caring for a loved one with Lou Gehrig’s disease requires a great deal of patience and understanding. As the disease progresses, your senior loved one may experience changes in appetite, movement, and communication. In some cases, Lou Gehrig’s disease can lead to a variety of other health conditions.

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality non-medical senior care. Brampton, Caledon and Dufferin families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Here are some tips to remember when caring for a senior loved one with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Change the Communication Strategy 

As the disease progresses, your loved one’s speech will be affected, and you may need to change the way you communicate with him or her. For example, you can use an alphabet board to spell out words or a computer, laptop, or tablet to write them down. Some caregivers establish a communication partner to translate for them. When communicating with your loved one, speak slowly and repeat your words when necessary. There are several communication devices your loved one can use when it becomes difficult to talk. 

Assist with Eating and Swallowing 

Lou Gehrig’s disease causes muscle weakness and affects physical functions such as eating and swallowing. You should tuck your loved one’s chin when he or she is trying to swallow, and remind him or her to chew properly. Allow yourself more time to prepare meals, and avoid cooking foods that are difficult to swallow. Keep in mind your loved one has a risk of aspirating foods into his or her lungs, which could lead to pneumonia and other diseases. Speak with your loved one’s doctor and buy a feeding tube if necessary. 

Promote Exercise

Encourage your loved one to exercise daily and stay physically active. Exercising during the earlier stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease can give your loved one a physiological and psychological boost. Water-based activities are ideal for seniors with this disease. Make sure your loved one avoids heavy weights, extreme temperatures, or exercising when he or she is experiencing pain. Always consult with your loved one’s doctor to determine the safest forms of exercises and physical activities. 

Caring for a loved one with Lou Gehrig’s disease or other disorders can be overwhelming for family caregivers at times. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Brampton, Caledon and Dufferin, Ontario, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.

Be Patient 

Being patient with a loved one can be difficult at times, but you should try not to become upset in front of him or her. When you feel irritated, go take a moment for yourself. Keep in mind your loved one has no control over the disease, and he or she needs you to be understanding. Ask family members and friends for help, take a break from time to time, and consider hiring a professional caregiver for your elderly loved one.

If your aging loved one needs help managing the tasks of daily living and you’re searching for a reliable, expertly trained elderly caregiver, Brampton, Caledon and Dufferin, Ontario, Home Care Assistance is your top choice. At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers strive to make aging in place a safer and more comfortable experience for seniors so they can enjoy their golden years in better health. Call us at 905-951-8885 today and create a care plan for your elderly loved one.