Helping Persons with Muscle Disease Maintain Independence

Wellness Home Care knows that independence fuels a fighting spirit! There are many strategies that can help a person with ALS, or another muscle disease, retain the highest possible degree of independence. Here are a few of those strategies:

• Be collaborative in decision-making. Remember that people with muscle disease are capable thinkers even if they can’t communicate clearly. Discuss choices, make joint decisions and defer to the person’s decisions regarding his or her medical care.

• Ask if the person wants help before helping. Don’t take over tasks that still can be performed if the person is given adaptive devices and time.

• Be patient. Sometimes it seems faster and easier for caregivers to do it themselves, but patience will pay off.

• Let the person use your hands. When a person with muscle disease needs help with something, it can be very frustrating to have a helper take over the task and do it his or her way. The end result is rarely what the person envisioned. He/she doesn’t need a caregiver’s brain to plan things, just a pair of willing hands. Suggestions are fine, but ignoring the person’s ideas is demeaning.

• Set up a computer and Internet access. Help locate and install adaptive technologies that enable computer use when movement is limited or absent. Computers provide entertainment and social interaction and enable the person with muscle disease to help with tasks such as paying bills, tracking down information, hiring services, and grocery shopping.

• Use adaptive devices. The use of assistive equipment like wheelchairs is a move toward independence, not away from it. Adaptive devices are available for many everyday tasks such as eating, opening jars and doors, buttoning or zipping up clothing, writing and taking a bath.

• Use new strategies to perform tasks. For example, rearrange household objects or furniture for easier mobility and change the way a task is done, such as sliding something rather than carrying it.

Wellness Home Care’s personalized home care services help cultivate independence while ensuring safety and comfort. Our caregivers work hard to make every day a meaningful day in the celebration of life for those in our care. Contact us to make a referral or learn more about the specialized assistance we can provide for persons with muscle disease.

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