For people living with ALS, the quarantine measures are no different. While for most, staying at home is new to them, it was the “normal” that ALS patients knew. ALS is a progressive disease that targets the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movements. Patients do stay home most of the time because it’s difficult for them to go out or move.
Since ALS is a terminal illness that only gets worse over time, then the coronavirus’s presence makes dealing with the disease twice as hard. It is hard enough that you cannot control your voluntary muscles, now you need extra precaution not to contract the virus.
Although staying at home has been typical for ALS patients, dealing with the pandemic is still as difficult for them as for everyone else. Some ALS patients used to get out occasionally for support group meetings, lunch or dinner out, and sometimes even trip to the grocery store. But because of the pandemic, even these limited activities are on hold.
If you have friends or family members who are ALS patients, keep them entertained, and nurture their mental health by suggesting these activities for them to do.
Reading is not only a source of entertainment, but it also exercises the brain. Reading a book is always a new experience as it immerses the reader into an imaginary world. There are lots of digital libraries that are accessible with gadgets—laptop, tablet, or phone. Ask them whether they are into fiction or non-fiction, into sci-fi or biographies, these digital libraries will surely have their specific preference.
Yes, nothing beats the experience of reading on a physical book, but we are in an unusual time wherein almost everything is going virtual. Plus, borrowing an actual book is not ideal since we are trying to minimize physical contact.
Music Or Podcasts
There are a lot of online platforms for music libraries and podcasts like Spotify and Apple Music. Create a playlist for them for different moods and occasions. Make a playlist for them to listen to in the morning while they do their routine, or a playlist that will help uplift their spirit on not so good days. You can also make a playlist that will help them calm down. You can also find out their favorite songs make a playlist of them!
Podcasts are stimulating for the brain. There are many different podcast topics like news, politics, lifestyle, motivational, and even comedy. Find out which theme fits their taste best and recommend it to them. Depending on the topic, podcasts can be both educational and entertaining.
Watching a movie helps in getting the head off from worries. For an hour or two, the mind can relax from endless worrying and jump into a different world. If they are into feel-good movies, try suggesting The Intern, Julia & Julie, or laugh with My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The internet offers endless choices of movies that are available for streaming.
Also, Netflix may be one of the most known streaming sites, but don’t be limited to what Netflix offers. Lots of other streaming services are available apart from Netlfix, like HBO Max, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and Hulu.
Breathe Fresh Air
If they have access to a backyard inside their home, help them go out for a dose of fresh air. Breathing fresh air helps the lungs to be at its full capacity. If they are living in a building, try opening the windows for a period to allow fresh air to circulate inside the living space.
When the brain has an optimum amount of oxygen, the mind feels and functions better. Aside from this, fresh air helps destress and improve overall well-being.
According to Melissa Burkley, Ph.D., “nature acts like a reboot for the overloaded brain. Modern life is constantly bombarding our mind with information and distractions. This makes it nearly impossible to hear the creative whispers of our inner mule over such mental noise. By removing these distractions, our mind is freed to wander, leading us on exciting new journeys across undiscovered paths.”
The pandemic is not an easy time, especially to those who have already been dealing with ALS. But with enough support and by doing the activities mentioned above, they will be able to power through this difficult time.