Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system. Damage to the nerve fibers or myelin (protective layers of a type of fat that surround nerve fibers) leads to a lack of information getting from the brain to the rest of the body.
People with MS often experience problems with vision, gait, muscle strength, muscle control, and fatigue. MS may cause numbness and tingling in the face, arms, and legs. It can lead to constipation, depression, emotional imbalances, pain, and cognitive issues.
When you’re caring for a parent who has MS, there are four key areas where you’ll need to focus attention. They include exercise and physical therapy, diet, sleep routines, and de-stressing techniques.
Depression and anxiety are common after a diagnosis of MS. Medications may help, but there are other ways to de-stress. Your parent may find relaxation breathing is helpful. Aromatherapy, time spent outside in the fresh air and sun, and some of the exercise from Tai Chi and Yoga are also useful.
It also helps to have someone there to listen. If your parent is feeling particularly anxious or stressed, encourage venting. Let your mom or dad talk about the things that are causing stress. Listen without judgment.
A diet won’t improve MS, but it can help with depression, anxiety, and ensure they’re getting enough protein for muscle health. Look for a diet that is high in fiber, protein, and fresh produce. Many doctors recommend the principles found in the Mediterranean Diet (fresh vegetables, olive oil, garlic, seafood, and dried beans) as being the best overall plan to follow.
The muscle weakness, numbness, and loss of muscle control all impact gait and mobility. Your parent will likely work with a physical therapist to improve mobility. At home, you need to make sure your mom or dad is practicing these exercises.
Being there to support your parent while taking a walk is important. You may find the use of a cane or walker is needed. You can offer moral support and physical support while your parent gets used to this assistive device.
As you age, sleep patterns change. It’s recommended that all adults get 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night. To help make sure this happens, set a sleep routine that aids your mom or dad.
They may find a cup of herbal tea a couple of hours before bedtime, 30 minutes of reading in bed, and then soft ocean sounds help them drift off and stay asleep. Find a sleep routine that works well and make sure that routine doesn’t get interrupted often.
As the symptoms progress, you may need help with your parent’s care. That’s normal. Professional caregivers are trained to help your mom or dad with tasks like personal care, companionship, housekeeping, and transportation. Call a home care agency to arrange caregivers to help out as often as is needed.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Brownsburg, IN, please call the caring staff at Home Services Unlimited. Serving Greater Indianapolis Area. Call for Immediate Info & Assistance: (317) 471-0760
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