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Tips for Managing Life with ALS

Tips for Managing Life with ALS

Once diagnosed, ALS begins to slowly take over the lives of those affected, making daily activities more and more difficult to perform. While there’s not yet a cure, there are ways to make everyday life more manageable. Keep reading to learn some tips for making the lives of ALS fighters as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. 

ALS: The Basics 

Before we jump into the helpful tips, let’s discuss the basics of ALS, including symptoms, diagnosis and other facts. ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting two main parts of the body. The nerve cells affected include those in the brain and spinal cord. Individuals with ALS slowly lose their ability to do everyday activities such as walking, talking and eating. 

  • Symptoms: Loss of muscle control which prohibits speech, walking, grasping, swallowing and breathing. 
  • Diagnosis: ALS is often difficult to diagnose since other diseases are ruled out first. 
  • Statistics: ALS is most common in individuals between the ages of 40 and 70, and over 5,000 people are diagnosed each year. 
  • Visit als.org to learn more about the disease. 

5 Helpful Tips 

1. Get Trustworthy Assistance 

What were once routine, daily tasks may become more difficult to do on your own, which is why caregivers can be of great assistance. Whether you decide to hire a professional or stick with a close loved one, having someone on hand to help is convenient and much safer. Some things they can assist with includes running errands, helping with mobility and treatment, cooking, organizing medications and more. 

2. Make Changes in Your Home 

The good news is that with the development of home modifications over the years, there are so many changes you can make to your home to make your life simpler and safer. Some adaptations you can make include installing a stair lift, purchasing a lift chair or adding bed rails and grab bars for added stability. You can make larger modifications, too, like widening doorways to make your home more wheelchair accessible. 

3. Attend Physical/Occupational Therapy 

The best way to maintain independence is to participate in physical or occupational therapy. This can help you stay mobile for as long as possible and can improve strength and flexibility. Occupational therapy focuses on improving an individual’s ability to perform daily activities, while physical therapy is focused on the movement of the body. Both forms of therapy are great for individuals with ALS! 

4. Utilize Ventilation 

Ventilation is a common way to assist ALS patients with breathing. Ventilation provides great benefits to individuals with ALS as their muscles are often weakened, so this allows sufficient oxygen to be delivered through the blood and to the muscles. Our Respiratory Therapists at Life Tech specialize in providing care to ventilator-dependent patients, and we proudly offer high-tech home respiratory equipment. Learn more about our ventilation services by clicking here

5. Maintain a Good Social Life 

Not only is ALS difficult to deal with physically, but it takes a toll on the mental health of those affected as well as their loved ones. Now’s a good time to consider joining a support group to surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through. Another good option is starting counseling so a professional specializing in chronic illnesses can help you through the tough process. Overall, staying social by contacting loved ones often and living life to the fullest will help you remain positive. 

As medical professionals continue to search for a cure for ALS, Life Tech will continue providing ventilators to assist those affected as best as we can. Contact us for more information – we're happy to help! 

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