How Multiple Sclerosis Affects Older Adults

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Understanding the Effects of Multiple Sclerosis on Seniors

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective coating of nerves. While seniors can develop the disease, only five percent of those with MS are diagnosed after the age of 50. Seniors with late-onset MS tend to have progressive MS, which has slightly different symptoms. 

When seniors are diagnosed with MS, the symptoms of progressive MS combined with the effects of aging cause them to experience the disease in a different way than their younger counterparts. Here’s what to expect. 

MS Symptoms Constantly Worsen

Normally, people with MS experience periods of remission during which their symptoms aren’t as intense, but seniors with MS don’t often experience symptoms that come and go. Rather, most seniors with MS tend to have symptoms that get progressively worse. As nerves continue to deteriorate, seniors with MS consistently experience difficulty moving, tingling feelings in the hands, weakened muscles, numbed limbs, and vision problems. 

Seniors with MS can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Reston service families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Seniors with MS Have Less Depression

A 2014 study published in Psychology, Health, & Medicine found that people diagnosed with MS after the age of 50 don’t have the psychological symptoms of younger people with MS. Seniors with MS aren’t as likely to experience depression or anxiety after their diagnoses. The study’s authors suggest this may be because most seniors have already become used to a decrease in their physical abilities. 

Bladder Problems Are More Likely

The nerve degeneration associated with MS makes it difficult for the bladder and kidneys to work properly. Since aging already causes weakened bladder and kidney function, seniors with MS commonly experience frequent urination, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections. 

Older adults who have MS or another serious condition and need help maintaining their independence while living at home can benefit from having assistance. When considering in-home care, Reston, VA, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.

Cognitive Impairment Happens Rapidly

MS typically causes damage to the white matter in the brain, which results in cognitive impairment. This makes it difficult for seniors to concentrate, remember items, and think logically. When the cognitive impairment of MS is combined with the brain degeneration associated with aging, difficulty thinking becomes evident quickly. 

Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with a serious health condition can be challenging. Fortunately, Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help. We are a leading provider of senior care. Reston families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in elder care. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your loved one, call us at 703-556-8983 today.