At the age of 77, Marilyn noticed that she was having trouble with her left hand. It seemed to be getting weaker and she had trouble grasping pins when she was quilting. She also had muscle cramps in her leg. She figured the changes in her hand were a recurrence of the carpal tunnel syndrome she’d had years ago. As for the cramps, well, she’d never been one to complain, so she simply dealt with them and went on with her day. When the problems grew worse and started to interfere with her life more, she decided it was time to see the doctor. After several visits and numerous tests, the doctor diagnosed Marilyn with Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Marilyn’s ignoring of the initial symptoms of ALS isn’t uncommon. Sometimes the symptoms are subtle and can be attributed to something else. Unfortunately, that can mean that it takes longer to receive a diagnosis. Because ALS is a progressive disease that eventually leads to total disability and death, it’s important to get a diagnosis as early on as possible so that planning for the future can begin. Below are some early signs of ALS that should never be ignored.
ALS causes muscle weakness in the feet and ankles, which can cause the person to trip and fall. It also causes muscles to twitch or become stiff. These muscle problems can interfere with walking and with being able to do normal activities.
The muscle weakness that comes with ALS can make it hard for a person to hold their head up, so you might notice their head drooping or that they lean it against things more than they used to. Muscle changes can also alter a person’s posture.
The tongue is a muscle. When it is affected by ALS, it can cause slurred speech. Some people also develop a nasal quality to their speech.
You may notice that the older adult has more trouble doing things that require some strength than they used to. Perhaps they aren’t able to lift as much as they once could or have trouble opening jars.
If your aging relative has been diagnosed with ALS, elderly care can assist during the early stages and on into the final stage of the disease. Elderly care providers can help with personal care tasks, like dressing, grooming, bathing, and toileting. They can also allow the older adult to remain more involved with their family and friends by driving them to events and social gatherings. Elderly care providers can also be a source of comfort and support for both the senior and their family members through the course of this difficult disease.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDERLY CARE IN SUN CITY, AZ, CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY (623) 748-3301.