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Understanding Multiple Sclerosis

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Nerves have a protective covering known as the myelin sheath. For unknown reasons, multiple sclerosis damages the sheath and creates plaque-like lesions. When this occurs, the normal transmission between nerves becomes disrupted or short-circuited, similar to what might happen when the rubber coating on wiring deteriorates. MS patients experience a wide range of symptoms ranging in severity depending on what nerves are affected. In elderly people, the condition often progresses more rapidly, which poses a number of dilemmas. The following symptoms are what North Broward live-in caregivers can expect when a loved one has multiple sclerosis.

Visual Disturbances

MS often affects the optic nerve resulting in eye pain, blurring, double vision, and partial or complete blindness. It is important that the surroundings in which an elderly individual lives remain unchanged to avoid possible injury. Depending on the severity of the condition, seniors might also need assistance with anything from daily activities to transportation.

Physical Disability

When the nerves in the arms and legs are affected, symptoms range from numbness and tingling to muscle weakness and spasticity. Walking may become difficult or impossible. Older adults might lose the fine motor skills in their hands, preventing them from performing everyday tasks like writing, opening pill bottles, or picking up small objects. The level of assistance needed varies with physical limitations.

Exacerbating Factors

MS often causes victims to feel unusually tired relatively easily. Overexertion may cause symptoms to worsen. Periodic rest periods or naps during the day help alleviate the problem. Patients must also be cautious when it comes to becoming overheated. Excessive stress can also lead to an exacerbation of symptoms.

Emotional Wellbeing

By the time an MS patient enters into retirement age, they are relatively used to living with their condition. However, the disease process can cause cognitive impairment, dementia and other mental health issues when lesion development advances in the brain. Under these circumstances, seniors need compassion, patience and understanding from loved ones. They may also require more assistance.

Give your loved one the help he or she needs when you reach out to a trustworthy North Broward home care agency such as Home Care Assistance. We provide numerous services to meet any senior’s unique home care needs whether he or she needs medication reminders, physical therapy, or mobility or personal care assistance. Call a knowledgeable Care Manager today at 954-906-5161 to schedule a free at-home consultation.