Incontinence As MS progresses, some people may experience a loss of bladder and bowel function which requires them to use incontinence briefs or keep a portable commode by their bed. Incontinence and urinary retention issues increase the risk for urinary tract infections. Fatigue Mild to extreme fatigue is a hallmark characteristic of advancing MS and can come on suddenly as a wave for some people or can be a day-to-day reality for others. Fatigue can result from symptoms like an overworked brain, stress, muscles being exhausted from spasming, tremors, depression, and side effects from medicine.
Trouble with coordination Worsening balance issues can negatively impact agility, coordination, and mobility.
Increased risk of falling and difficulty walking can happen as your older adult experiences fatigue, muscle weakness and numbness, as well as pain or dizziness. Equipment like mobility aids, shower chairs for senior care , grab bars, and safety railings can make the home environment safer for someone with MS. Impaired vision Double vision or partial to complete vision impairment in one or more eyes may happen when someone has an MS flare-up. Involuntary, jumpy eye movements called Nystagmus tremors may also occur, causing reduced depth perception and some vision loss.
Additional multiple sclerosis symptoms Other symptoms of MS may include itching, burning, and feelings of pins and needles in arms and legs from ongoing nerve damage. People with MS may also have migraines and difficulty speaking. These could include:.
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Managing incontinence Losing bladder and bowel function can be heartbreaking, but being prepared for it can make a huge difference. Discussing incontinence with their doctor, finding well-fitting incontinence briefs, investing in a bedside commode, and stocking up on supplies like underpads and wipes will help everyone adjust more easily. Preventing bedsores Someone with progressing MS who gradually loses their mobility may end up spending more and more time in bed, in a recliner, or a wheelchair.
Managing depression Like with many chronic illnesses, loneliness, anxiety, and depression are mental health realities that need to be addressed. Caregivers can be mindful of behavior changes and social isolation their older adult is experiencing and get them help as needed.
Helping with fatigue and weakness Caregivers can help their older adult manage fatigue and weakness with steps like sticking to daily routines , discussing medication side effects with doctors, and making time for daily low-impact exercises like walking, yoga, swimming, and others.
Managing loss of mobility Going to physical therapy, supporting your older adult when they stand or walk, and reducing fall risk hazards at home can make coping with the physical changes easier on both them and you. Interested in all things related to living healthy lifestyle, she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others.
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With Advance Directives in place, families and healthcare professionals know that when someone is in hospice care, painful or intrusive treatments, admission to intensive care units, or frightening ambulance trips to emergency rooms, for example, may not be wanted or accepted. In fact, if a patient has a medical emergency, families or caregivers are instructed to call the hospice provider rather than Hospice staff are available for consultation 24 hours a day.
In hospice, as in palliative care, the focus is on comfort and dignity, and spiritual concerns are addressed. Not all hospitals provide the services, but most do. There are different types of local hospice organizations—large and small, and nonprofit and for-profit. Care can be provided in the home, in assisted living or nursing home, hospital, or in a special hospice residence.
In both palliative and hospice care, patients and families are gently supported as they are asked to do deep soul-searching about their values and beliefs during a very challenging time. Family Caregiver Alliance FCA seeks to improve the quality of life for caregivers through education, services, research, and advocacy. Through its National Center on Caregiving, FCA offers information on current social, public policy, and caregiving issues and provides assistance in the development of public and private programs for caregivers, as well as a toll-free call center for family caregivers and professionals nationwide.
For San Francisco Bay Area residents, FCA provides direct family support services for caregivers of those with Alzheimer's disease, stroke, ALS, head injury, Parkinson's, and other debilitating brain disorders that strike adults. Prepared by Family Caregiver Alliance. All rights reserved. Learn more. Skip to main content.
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Communicating With Your Loved One
What is palliative care and how can my family member benefit? History The philosophy of palliative care in the US has evolved over time. How are palliative care and hospice care different? How can patients access palliative and hospice care?
Caring for Loved Ones: Tips to Help Them (and You) Cope
In this Section. Education and Events Calendar July Smart Patients Caregivers Community In partnership with. My parents, in their 80s, have elected through the VA program to have a HHC aide come to their home four days a week.
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My husband and I live 30 miles away, unfortunately my back problems keep me from helping them more. In late October , they received another aide.