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Activities to Increase quality of life for ALS Patients

.ALS is Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis – and is also known as “Lou Gehrig’s” disease. It is an incurable disease that affects motor neurons that control muscles. Patients with ALS lose their ability to move as the neurons die.

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 20,000 people in the US have ALS; in this country an estimated 5,000 people each year are diagnosed with the disease. ALS affects all races and age groups, although it is more prevalent in men and in people ages 40 – 60 years old.

As the disease progresses, patients become more dependent on others to care for them. Despite the loss of the ability to walk and even to move, certain activities in which the patients can participate can be helpful and enjoyable.

Massage can decrease muscle stiffness and relieve the discomfort and pain of cramps. This can be quite pleasurable and relaxing and is encouraged. Talk to your doctor to see what types of massage you can do for your loved one.

Engaging activities such as watching movies or TV together can distract and provide pleasure. You can engage in “conversation” by commenting on the show and ask yes or no questions that can be answered by a patient having difficulty speaking by blinking.
If the patient likes music, then playing his or her favorite music genre is relaxing.

If a fan of ballet or other types of dance, an ALS patient may enjoy a video you can watch together. The same is true of a sports fan — sitting together to watch a ball game or hockey can provide enjoyment. While these activities may seem passive, they can change the patient’s focus and help relieve symptoms.

You can also read to the patient with extra emphasis on voice intonation and dynamics. There are also many excellent books on tape that can provide entertainment when you are not there.

People with ALS are still the individuals they were before the disease ravaged their bodies.

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Activities to Increase quality of life for ALS Patients

  1. 1. Activities to Increase Quality of Life for ALS Patients www.aurumnetwork.com
  2. 2. www.aurumnetwork.com ALS is Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis – and is also known as “Lou Gehrig’s” disease. It is an incurable disease that affects motor neurons that control muscles. Patients with ALS lose their ability to move as the neurons die.
  3. 3. www.aurumnetwork.com ALS was nicknamed “Lou Gehrig’s Disease” after the baseball player who was forced to retire after a stellar career where he earned several acco- lades and achieved records for his skills as a hitter. He played 17 seasons for the New York Yankees from 1923 through 1939. He was voted an All- Star seven consecutive times and was an American League MVP twice.
  4. 4. www.aurumnetwork.com ALS forced Gehrig to retire at the age of 36 and was the cause of his death two years later. It is important to remember that ALS patients lose the ability to control muscles includ- ing swallowing but ALS does not affect the ability to think or remember. It doesn’t affect personal- ity – although the patients may become frustrated and saddened by the disease. Patients can move eye muscles and the senses of taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing also remain intact.
  5. 5. www.aurumnetwork.com According to the National Institutes of Health, about 20,000 people in the US have ALS; in this country an estimated 5,000 people each year are diagnosed with the disease. ALS affects all races and age groups, although it is more prevalent in men and in people ages 40 – 60 years old.
  6. 6. www.aurumnetwork.com As the disease progresses, patients become more depen- dent on others to care for them. Despite the loss of the ability to walk and even to move, certain activities in which the patients can participate can be help- ful and enjoyable.
  7. 7. www.aurumnetwork.com Massage can decrease muscle stiff- ness and relieve the discomfort and pain of cramps. This can be quite pleasurable and relaxing and is encour- aged. Talk to your doctor to see what types of massage you can do for your loved one.
  8. 8. www.aurumnetwork.com Engaging activities such as watching movies or TV together can distract and provide pleasure. You can engage in “conver- sation” by comment- ing on the show and ask yes or no ques- tions that can be answered by a patient having difficulty speak- ing by blinking. If the patient likes music, then playing his or her favorite music genre is relaxing.
  9. 9. www.aurumnetwork.com If a fan of ballet or other types of dance, an ALS patient may enjoy a video you can watch together. The same is true of a sports fan — sitting together to watch a ball game or hockey can provide enjoyment. While these activities may seem passive, they can change the patient’s focus and help relieve symptoms.
  10. 10. www.aurumnetwork.com You can also read to the patient with extra emphasis on voice intona- tion and dynamics. There are also many excellent books on tape that can provide entertainment when you are not there.
  11. 11. www.aurumnetwork.com People with ALS are still the individuals they were before the disease ravaged their bodies. Your loved one with ALS still has a sharp mind and sharing time together is one way to help to provide pleasure and comfort.
  12. 12. Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers Aurum member nursing and rehabilitation centers provide a wide range of high quality medical services including: • Postacute care • Short-term rehabilitation • Respite care • Hospice care • Long-term care Working with each resident and their family members, staff will customize a plan to maximize both self-motivation and func- tional independence. You or your loved one will be in an atmosphere of warmth, respect and understanding. Find an Aurum Member Facility in your Area

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