During August’s National Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month, family caregivers may see an increase in awareness events, social media posts and support groups as organizations advocate for more research and understanding on this serious genetic condition. If you are taking care of an elderly family member that is living with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), it’s an excellent time to learn more about how to deal with the disease.
What is SMA?
Spinal muscular atrophy is a hereditary disease that affects the nervous system and destroys the body’s ability to control the muscles. It is more prevalent in men but anyone at any age can develop it. In elderly adults, the disease results in the reduction in their ability to walk, reach, grab, grasp, swallow, speak and breathe.
How Does SMA Affects Seniors?
SMA affects the motor nerves in the spinal cord that control muscles, so seniors live with this progressive disease as it affects their ability to control the body. Most elderly adults need to use a cane or walker in the early stages, and more to a wheelchair or scooter as it progresses. They are more likely to experience falls as they are not able to move themselves very well.
Other ways that SMA affects seniors I in what they can do for themselves. Even grasping simple items like a hairbrush or a sock to put on becomes a real challenge. Bathing and getting dressed become epic struggles for aging adults with SMA. Also, doing tasks around the house is quite difficult, from cleaning and cooking to laundry. In the later stages, seniors may struggle with swallowing and speaking, since the muscles around the mouth and neck start to diminish.
How to Help Seniors with SMA
Family caregivers must think about the long-term needs of their aging relatives with SMA. The facts are that most seniors will not be able to live independently in their own homes without help. The best way to ensure that an aging relative is safe and healthy is to hire a senior care provider. These professionals are trained and experienced in caring for seniors with all kinds of disabilities.
Senior care providers can be scheduled regularly so that the family caregiver and the elderly adult can count on them. Because the aging adults will need a lot of support and assistance as the condition progresses, they need to plan to employ senior care providers for the near future as well as several years from now.
Even though SMA is a devastating condition that can affect an aging person’s everyday life, it’s important for family caregivers to remember that it does not affect their loved one’s intelligence or zest for life. With the right support system and positive attitudes, seniors with SMA can live full and happy lives.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in Clay, NY, please contact the caring staff at Serving Seniors, Inc. We specialize in offering services to the Senior Community in Syracuse and the surrounding area (Clay, Cicero, Liverpool, Baldwinsville, Central Square and others). Call us today! 315-382-4300.
Most seniors can live independent lives for quite some time with just minor assistance. Family and friends cannot always be there to help with daily tasks, but Serving Seniors can help fill the need for transportation, errands, housekeeping, and more. Just a few hours a week can enhance your senior’s independence, happiness and overall quality of life.
Joan assists concerned families seeking a trained caregiver who will treat their loved ones with dignity, respect and compassion. Serving Seniors provides the highest level in-home non-medical care and companionship. Families and seniors can be assured of friendly, personalized service from dedicated, compassionate caregivers.