As a family caregiver, it can be overwhelming when learning about the different health complications and challenges that your senior is facing or could be facing. You may have heard a single term used to describe what your parent is dealing with, only to realize that there are several different types or categories of that particular health problem. It is important to know which of these forms is the one that your parent is dealing with so that you can fully understand what they are dealing with and be able to support them in getting the level of care and assistance that they need and deserve.
August is National Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month. There are several different forms of SMA, each with its own set of symptoms and challenges, as well as the age of onset and progression. Forms of SMA include:
• Type 1. This form of the condition begins at birth or very shortly after birth. It is the most severe of the forms of the disease. This is a leading cause of death among young children.
• Type 2. This form of the condition also begins in childhood, but generally later. The onset is usually between the ages of six months and one year. With this form, children will not be able to learn to sit up, stand upright, or walk unassisted.
• Type 3. This form of the condition is milder than the first two. It generally develops later in childhood or sometime in adolescence. People who develop this form of the condition are likely to be able to sit, stand, and walk, and have a life expectancy that can bring them into adulthood, but will likely need to use a wheelchair or other mobility aid as their condition worsens with age.
• Type 4. This form of the condition is also a milder form and it develops later in life. Generally, this condition develops at some point in life between the thirties and fifties and continues on throughout life. While the symptoms of this form are not as severe as the other three, it can lead to mobility issues, problems with swallowing and breathing difficulties.
How can you help?
If you have been considering ways that you would be able to enhance your parent’s quality of life and support an ongoing lifestyle of independence and fulfillment, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting elder care for them. An elderly home care services provider can be there with your aging parent on a fully customized schedule to ensure that they get everything that they need to remain happy, healthy, comfortable, and safe throughout their later years.
The highly personalized nature of these services enables the care provider to address your parent’s individual needs, challenges, and limitations in the way that is right for them by respecting their preferences, goals, and opinions. This means that they can handle their daily personal care tasks, support good lifestyle choices, keep them active and engaged, and even offer reminders to help them stay compliant with their medications and treatments so that they can get the most benefit from them.