Approximately 4 out of every 100,000 people throughout the United States experiences spinal muscular atrophy or SMA. This is a genetic condition that impacts the central nervous system, specifically influencing the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement. Though most cases of SMA occur during infanthood or very early childhood, there are other forms of SMA that occur later in life, including during adulthood. As a family caregiver, it is important to understand not only the genetic element of these conditions, but also that you can recognize the potential signs and symptoms of the condition so that you can detect if your parent might be suffering from the condition, or that their condition is worsening and may need further attention.
Some of the signs and symptoms of spinal muscular atrophy include:
• Back muscle weakness
• Weakness in voluntary movement muscles, particularly those closest to the center of the body
• Decrease in size of the muscles
• Difficulty swallowing
• Difficulty breathing
• Curvature of the spine
Are These Symptoms Severe?
The intensity of these symptoms can range from mild to quite severe. For the most part, those cases of SMA that begin during adulthood are less severe than those that begin earlier in life. For elderly adults, however, the symptoms that they might experience as a result of their SMA can become very dangerous, particularly if they are impacting them in conjunction with other serious challenges and issues.
For example, if your aging parent’s respiratory muscular system is impacted by the weakening effects of the spinal muscular atrophy, they might have difficulty with swallowing and breathing. Many seniors struggle with difficulty swallowing due to other health complications and issues. If they are dealing with both problems, they might face difficulties with eating, putting them at greater risk of aspiration during eating and drinking, and choking.
If your parent is dealing with these symptoms, work closely with their doctor to find ways that you can help them to cope with their symptoms in ways that are right for them that will keep them safer and healthier.
Can a Home Care Service Provider 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.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering homecare in Smithtown, NY, please contact the caring staff at Family First Home Companions.
Serving all of Long Island. Call today: (631) 319-3961
Jennifer has specialized training in Alzheimer’s disease through the Long Island Alzheimer’s Association and the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation.She also volunteered her time with the Alzheimer's Disease Assistance Center of Long Island for 3 years by providing cognitive stimulation to an Alzheimer’s patient group.
Jennifer educates the community about elder care and speaks to caregiver support groups, senior centers, and at professional organizations.Topics include home safety, effective strategies for family caregiving, elder care planning, and awareness about elder abuse.
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- Family First sponsored the 2017 ADRC Alzheimer’s Walk this month. - September 14, 2017