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ALS: What to Expect & How Home Care Can Help

If a loved one is diagnosed with ALS, their life, and the lives of their family members, will change dramatically and often quite suddenly. Here, we outline what you need to know about the disease and how ALS Home Care can provide the support you and your loved one need to maintain their safety, dignity, and quality of life for as long as possible.

What is ALS disease? Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease affecting brain and spinal cord nerve cells. It's also known as motor neuron disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a progressive disease; the onset is swift and devastating in most cases.

According to MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association), ALS is the most common form of motor neuron disease.

Progression of the disease.

Please note that there is no formally recognized "staging" for this disease. Scientific sources usually refer to three major stages - early, middle, and late. For a more detailed view, the progression of ALS can sometimes be divided into seven stages.

What causes ALS disease? The exact cause of ALS remains unknown. There's a genetic link in about 5-10% of cases, but most cases are sporadic with no clear cause. Researchers believe a combination of genetic and environmental factors may contribute to the disease. 

Is ALS an autoimmune disease? ALS is not considered an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases involve the immune system mistakenly attacking the body's healthy cells, while ALS is a neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells. Read also: Is ALS Hereditary? and Is ALS Contagious?

How is ALS diagnosed? Diagnosing ALS involves a series of tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. These ALS tests may include blood and urine tests, MRI scans, electromyography (EMG), and nerve conduction studies.

How long can you live with ALS? The average life expectancy after an ALS diagnosis is three years. However, some individuals live more than ten years after being diagnosed.

How to prevent ALS? Lifestyle changes and proactive measures to reduce the risk of developing the condition.

Home Care: Consistent Support in a Time of Change

A Home Care Aide can assist you and your loved one through these difficult changes while enabling the ALS patient to continue to live in their own home, with their own routine, and with as much normalcy as possible.

For many families facing an ALS diagnosis, hiring a Home Care company is an inevitability at some point during the illness, so it’s important to look for the right support options as early as possible.

You may have decided that you or another close family member would like to take on the role of a family caregiver, but assistance will almost certainly be needed as the disease progresses. By the time your loved one has difficulty dressing, eating, moving from place to place, and communicating, it is best to have support in place. An experienced Home Care company will be able to assess your loved one’s needs in order to provide a qualified caregiver to help provide the much-needed respite for you and your family.

A Home Care Aide will be able to take on many of the tasks that may be difficult for family members to do on their own:

  • Keeping your loved one connected with family and friends by facilitating mobility outside of the home
  • Providing transportation to social, sporting, or cultural events to maintain quality of life and offer a break from the medically-based routine
  • Providing companion care when family members are unable to be present due to work or other commitments
  • Providing respite for family caregivers
  • Assistance with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks
  • Advising on home adaptations, as and when they become necessary, to reduce fall risks and help with mobility within the house
  • Meal preparation
  • Medication reminders

Making the decision to hire a Home Care company means extending your loved one’s independence and quality of life for as long as possible. All of the Home Care Aides at Ezra Home Care are compassionate and experienced professionals who hold your family member’s dignity in the highest regard.

To find out more about how Ezra Home Care can help when a loved one is diagnosed with ALS, please call and speak with one of our dedicated staff.

Founded in 2008, Ezra Home Care offers live-in home care, 24-hour care, and hourly senior care.
All our caregivers are state-certified and provide services like personal carehousekeepingcompanionship, help with medication, and transportation assistance. We've spent 15 years refining our caregiver selection process to ensure families' peace of mind. Reach out for details and quotes.

Contact Us

or call us at 617-527-9000

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