Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that can lead to disability because it affects the spinal cord and brain. The condition causes the immune system to attack the tissue, called myelin, that protects nerve fibers. When that happens, the nerves are less able to conduct messages between the brain and the body. Eventually, the disease can cause damage to the nerves themselves and the MS sufferer may become disabled.
The Cause of MS
Unfortunately, scientists have not yet identified exactly what causes MS. Research suggests that MS might actually be the result of several factors that combine to trigger the disease. Those factors are:
- Genetics: People who have a close relative with MS, such as a parent or sibling, are more likely to get the disease. This suggests that genetics play a role. In fact, some researchers think that a person’s genetic makeup might cause them to react to an environmental trigger.
- Environment: The data that has been gathered about MS shows that it is more common in certain parts of the world. And, when a person moves to another part of the world, they take on the risk factor associated with their new home. This is especially true if they move before they reach adulthood. This supports the idea of there being something in a person’s environment that triggers the disease.
- Virus: Scientists are currently looking into whether certain viruses might play a role in making a person more susceptible to MS. So far, the science has not proven the link, but researchers continue to investigate.
Senior Care and MS
MS affects people differently depending on which nerves are impacted. Some of the complications they may experience are:
- Paralyzed legs.
- Stiffness and spasms in muscles.
- Trouble with bladder and bowel function.
- Memory problems.
- Mood swings.
Older adults with MS often need assistance with daily tasks. A senior care provider can be helpful in these situations. Some things senior care can do for an MS sufferer are:
- Keep the house clean.
- Cook healthy meals.
- Remind them to take medications.
- Assist with basic pet care, like feeding the dog or taking it outside.
- Drive the older adult to stores, appointments, and social events.
- Wash, dry, fold, and put away laundry.
- Ensure the person remains safe while family members are elsewhere.
- Provide distraction and company, which may help alleviate mood-related symptoms.
A debilitating disease like MS can make aging in place difficult, but with the help of family members, friends, and senior care, it is possible for someone with MS to remain comfortably and safely in their home.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Purcellville, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.