ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a nerve disease that is quite frightening. The disease is degenerative, so it becomes worse over time. Learning as much as you can about ALS and employing some of the following strategies can help to keep the experience as positive as possible for you and for your loved one.
4 Tips for Helping a Loved One Cope with a Diagnosis of ALS
1. Make Decisions as Soon as Possible about Future Care
The sooner your loved one can make decisions regarding their future care, the better. This can be general information, such as when they reach a specific stage of declining health they’ll need extra help, or you can make a detailed plan. If you know already what the signals are that it’s time to bring in elderly care providers, there’s no guessing or beating around the bush when that time comes.
2. Find a Support Group
Talking to other people who are going through the same thing is essential, for both caregivers and for sufferers of ALS. This is one disease that takes a lot out of everyone involved and having a strong support network can help immeasurably. Take the time to find the right support group. You want to find one your loved one feels comfortable sharing about their problems and triumphs during meetings. Don’t forget, online support groups can be just as helpful as in-person groups, so that’s a consideration if you live in a more remote area.
3. Stay Hopeful in the Face of Difficulties
Remaining optimistic in the face of the kinds of difficulties ALS presents can be difficult, but it’s rewarding, too. Life isn’t about hardship all the time, even with a chronic illness. Do what you can to help remind your loved one of the positives in life, because those are the kinds of reminders that can help to keep their spirits up when they’re feeling down.
4. Look at the Things Your Loved One Can Do
Another mistake people tend to make when facing these kinds of illnesses is to lament the things they can no longer do. What that does, though, is keep you and your loved one looking toward the past. Sure, there are probably quite a few activities your loved one might not be able to do on their own anymore, but there are far more things they can still do. Try to focus on those.
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Living with ALS can be difficult, but there are ways to keep the situation positive for your loved one.