Tips for ALS Caregivers
December 7, 2016
Caregiver in Saratoga CAAmyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that significantly impacts the nerve cells found in the spinal cord and brain. Someone with this disease will have unique needs and will need assistance from caregivers even more as the condition worsens.In order to provide the care your loved one needs, here are some tips for those who are assisting an elder with ALS.
- Take care of your own needs. It is true that your loved one will need to be cared for, but that does not mean your needs are less important. In fact, making time for the things that bring you joy and help you relax will make you a better caregiver. Since taking time off is not usually a luxury caregivers are given, consider using respite care to give yourself a well-deserved break.
- Build a support system. Being surrounded by others who understand what you are going through can be a godsend. ALS support groups, caregiver workshops and seminars, and other local resources could be exactly what you need.
- Watch for symptoms of depression and burnout. Depression and burnout can happen without warning. This is especially true for those family members who become isolated while caring for their loved ones. If you are suddenly not feeling like yourself, becoming sad more days than happy, and are withdrawing yourself from social activities, seek medical help immediately. Your doctor can also provide a list of other caregiver burnout and depression symptoms to be aware of.
- Celebrate the little victories. There may be days that are tougher than others, so it is Important that you appreciate all of the ways you help your loved one each day. You may not realize just how valuable you are for your loved one, so take the time to celebrate the little victories you have each day, even if you think they are unimportant.
- Keep learning. Continue educating yourself on ALS by researching this condition inline, getting information from the doctor, or checking out a book at the library. The more you know, the better you will be able to care for the elder and know what is to be expected in the future.
- Research resources. There are some programs available for caregivers that will help cover some of the costs that are being paid out-of-pocket. Some possible resources you could qualify for includes the unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act and possible tax deductions and credits.