It is entirely difficult to assist family members with ALS. Not only the symptoms can sometimes be subtle, but the whole struggle is unbearable to handle. It becomes devastating to know that your loved ones are having difficulty grasping objects. There is a constant concern that they may severely damage their physical health due to continuous unexplained trips or falls. It pains you to see them struggle in controlling their arms and legs because you know it gets weaker and weaker. And as the condition progresses, it hurts you the most to see them struggle with the difficulty of speaking, eating, moving, and even breathing. Understandably, there are things you want to do to help them. But be mindful that even though you may have a good intention, sometimes what you are trying to do can become too overwhelming for them.
Do Not Think Of ALS As An Immediate Death
The thing that a lot of individuals fail to realize is the way how they look at ALS. A lot assume that since there is no cure to the condition, people who have it automatically dies. With that mindset, some are not putting an effort anymore in providing their loved ones with ALS the kind of life they deserve. That instead of cherishing memories with their families and friends, other people prefer to isolate or move them away from the world. Again, the intention might be good, and perhaps these people only want their loved ones with ALS to be safe all the time. However, taking away their chance to live life like normal individuals is much more devastating. Instead of picturing your loved ones leaving the world sooner or later, why not do your best to spend unforgettable memories with them?
It Is Not Their Fault They Have ALS
Ideally, you understand that your loved ones will need twice as much as your attention as the disease progresses. The amount of assistance you will have to provide them can become too much to handle. It can cause you a lot of pressure, stress, and anxiety. With that, you can expect that everyone in the family will start to avoid obligations, and each member will soon skip on their responsibilities. Sooner or later, the whole commotion will create conflict. And in no time, everybody will point fingers and blame ALS as the root of all the family’s challenges and burdens. Sadly, that particular scenario is common to happen. To avoid that, you need to understand that your loved ones with ALS didn’t deserve the blame. It’s not their fault they are experiencing the condition. Thus, be mindful enough to handle stress maturely and avoid making your loved ones feel useless just because you thought of them as incapable individuals.
Their Brain Functions Differently
Maybe you thought that your loved ones’ mental state is no longer functioning and that they are now considered intellectually incapable because of ALS. But ALS rarely affects the intellectual aspect of a person. Therefore, your loved ones’ cognitive functions remained intact despite their inability to speak. Also, witnessing family members with ALS laugh and cry for no reason do not entirely mean they are crazy. The whole instantaneous change of disposition is known as the pseudobulbar effect. It is a sudden interruption of signals in the brain’s upper neurons connected to their mood. So next time you see your loved ones with ALS laugh or cry, it does not instantly mean they are happy or sad.
They Are Still The Same Person
ALS is something that can change others and your perspective in life. It is a condition that can make you realize that there are so many uncertainties that you might encounter unexpectedly. And as it changed people’s body and slowly damaged its functions, one thing remains – their personality. Therefore, never assume that ALS is taking away the character of your loved ones. Their condition can never do that. They are still the same individuals who enjoy doing the same thing. They can even spend time doing recreational activities with family and friends. They are still people who laugh at something funny and cry at something painful. They are still individuals who know how to love and feel loved. They are still the exact persons you knew even before they suffer from the disease.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for ALS. However, there are interventions to help family members with ALS to live longer. You can utilize supporting devices that can assist their mobility issues. You can encourage them to stay positive with life through healthy habits such as reading, writing, and listening to music. You can also take advantage of the care that others can offer. There’s the caregiver, physical therapists, psychologist, dietitian, and so on. As you can see, there are so many things you can do to help.