Multiple Sclerosis and Its Effect On Senior Mobility

Woman in WheelchairMultiple Sclerosis is a progressive, immune-mediated disorder where the immune system damages the protective outer layer of nerves. It eats up the myelin and fatty substance that protects the nervous system (the optic nerves, spinal cord, and brain). As a result, the damage disrupts communication between the patient’s brain and body. The disease could come with mild or no symptoms in the early stages, but the symptoms become notable and may be permanent as time goes by.

Seniors often experience the most enervating signs, which may include:

  • Paralysis mainly on the lower half of the body
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Poor memory
  • Bacterial skin infection
  • Depression and more

Mobility impairment is the most worrying symptom of all patients, their families, and even medical practitioners—the reason being the progressive nature of MS, its unpredictability, and heterogeneity.

About two-thirds of MS patients, primarily seniors, experience trouble with mobility and occasional loss of balance. It, in turn, disrupts their everyday life, forcing them to change their lives and daily routines. The mobility problems caused by Multiple Sclerosis affect the patients’ ability to walk and increase their dependability. Allcare offers assistance with activities of daily living such as showering, dressing, and grooming, meal preparation, medication reminders, light housekeeping, laundry, transportation to appointments, social outings, and errands.

The main feature of mobility impairment is its complexity. Neurologic impairments like loss of motor control, imbalance, spasticity, and sensory loss are the primary underlying factor resulting from MS activity.

Decreased mobility is also a contributing factor to other related symptoms. Studies show that cognitive challenges increase motor-induced gait deviations as they limit compensation strategies. As a result, reduction in mobility may enhance other symptoms like fatigue due to reduced activity. Our Certified Nursing Assistants and Personal Care Aids assist with ambulation and fall prevention.

The degree of mobility impairment caused by Multiple Sclerosis is always progressive and irreversible. Because of this, older patients in the late stages experience worsening disability. The extent of the mobility impairment is a critical factor in clinical outcome when examining Multiple Sclerosis. The examinations often include the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and the MS Functional Composite (MSFC)  which consists of the timed 25-foot walk, Nine-hole peg test, and paced auditory serial attention test. It may also include various tests on walking ability such as the timed 25-foot walk, the Six Spot Step test, the MS walking scale, and the six- or two-minute walk test.

How to Help Mobility Problems
Older people need to be proactive in speaking about this and get help as soon as they can. When it comes to mobility issues, patients have several avenues that they can explore. These include walkers, wheelchairs, and other mobility aids. Apart from these walking aids, doctors recommend different solutions like braces or electrical stimulation depending on the problem’s extent.

Exercises also help improve mobility problems amongst MS patients. You can always visit your physical or occupational specialist for an effective exercise program. Allcare in-home caregivers offer assistance with daily exercises, according to the physician’s orders, which can be beneficial to the client.

Personal, social, and environmental factors influence the impact of Multiple Sclerosis on mobility and the results of medical interventions. The elements may be intrinsic to an individual, like personality and premorbid activity level. Or they may be external, like the geographical or physical environment.

Bottom Line
The case of mobility with Multiple Sclerosis, especially in seniors, is a critical issue. It affects patients in so many ways, including their social and economic behavior. Patients should try and get a check-up as early as possible to provide the chance for early intervention and corrective measures.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with MS, Allcare Home Health Agency is here to provide assistance with compassion and respect, allowing them to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Call (919) 301-0236 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a new client in-home assessment with one of our experienced RNs.