Symptoms of Late-Onset Multiple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the protective covering of nerve fibers, known as myelin. This attack disrupts communication between the brain and the rest of the body.

The exact cause of MS remains unclear, but several factors may contribute to its development, including genetic predisposition and environmental triggers. Unlike Early-Onset MS, which commonly manifests between ages 20 and 40, Late-Onset MS refers specifically to those who develop symptoms after the age of 50, making it imperative to discern its specific symptoms.

Symptoms of Late-Onset Multiple Sclerosis

Cognitive Changes:

  • Memory lapses
  • Difficulty concentration

Mobility Issues:

  • Weakness or stiffness in limbs
  • Coordination problems
  • Balance issues leading to an increased risk of falls

Vision Impairment:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Difficulty controlling eye movements

Fatigue
Pain and Tingling
Emotional mood changes

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Emotional instability
  • Mood swings

Benefits of Homecare in Managing Late-Onset Multiple Sclerosis in Seniors

Seniors with late-onset multiple sclerosis (MS) can benefit from home healthcare. The ease of receiving care at home by a skilled Certified Nursing Assistant, Home Health Aide or trained family caregiver is invaluable, particularly for people with mobility issues.

Competent caregivers will regularly monitor a senior’s symptoms and report any changes or concerns to medical specialists. They can assist in reporting patterns and provide precise information to aid in proper diagnosis and treatment.

Once diagnosed, home healthcare professionals can assist with specialized treatment regimens suited to each senior’s needs. Caregivers collaborate with healthcare professionals to assist with rehabilitative exercises and monitor for symptoms like exhaustion or cognitive issues.
In-home care lowers the risk of exposure to external germs and infections that may exacerbate MS symptoms, preventing unnecessary hospital visits and complications from uncontrolled environments.

Caregiver’s Role in Managing Symptoms of Late-Onset MS

Since there is no cure for late-onset Multiple Sclerosis, managing symptoms is crucial to helping seniors live a fulfilled life. Caregivers play an important role. Here are some examples:

Well-Being Management:

  • Promote rest and sleep to address fatigue.
  • Support mobility through exercises to slow muscle weakness.
  • Validate feelings and reassure through active listening.

Cognitive and Emotional Support:

  • Engage seniors in cognitive activities and establish routines.
  • Create a supportive environment for emotional expression.

Pain Relief and Stress Management

  • Collaborate for pain relief using medication and therapy. Medication to be administered by nurse or family caregiver.
  • Develop personalized stress management plans.

Effective Communication and Advocacy:

  • Facilitate open communication among seniors, caregivers, and healthcare providers.
  • Advocate for proper medication management and treatment adherence.
  • Work closely with healthcare professionals for effective management.
  • Ensure adherence to treatment plans and necessary accommodations.

Caregivers play a crucial role in monitoring early symptoms and recommending timely medical attention for seniors. In working closely with healthcare professionals, caregivers can offer needed assistance throughout the diagnostic process and the senior’s treatment journey.

Allcare Home Health Agency, Inc. offers services in the Raleigh/Durham area. Contact us for your home care needs.

References:
Naseri A, Nasiri E, Sahraian MA, Daneshvar S, Talebi M. Clinical Features of Late-Onset Multiple Sclerosis: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2021 May;50:102816. doi: 10.1016/j.msard.2021.102816. Epub 2021 Feb 4. PMID: 33571792.
Hanley, S. (2022, August 21). Late-Onset Multiple Sclerosis. WebMD.