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What exactly is ALS?

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ALS is the acronym for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the late New York Yankees baseball player. Stephen Hawking also suffers from ALS.

ALS gradually kills nerve cells in the brain.  It’s a progressive and highly selective degeneration and loss of upper and lower motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, leading to paralysis of voluntary muscles and loss of ability to swallow, speak and breathe. (als.ca)

What ALS symptoms should you look for?

  • Muscle weakness
  • Cramps
  • Flaccidity
  • Slurring speech
  • Shortness of breath as rest
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive salivation
  • Extreme weight loss

Once a medical professional gives you a diagnosis of ALS, what comes next can be difficult and scary because the disease progresses differently for many people. Retire at Home Halton can help you and your family cope with the difficulties by providing or connecting you with services such as physiotherapy, speech language pathology, or a nutritionist to help ensure that you are eating a balanced diet.

Retire at Home understands that the little details are as important as the most common ones. For example, we know that once motor skills become limited, using utensils and mugs with thicker handles can make it easier to eat and drink. We can replace zippers with Velcro or elastics, and teach you how to use hand-free phones.

As advocates for seniors and anyone who needs attendant care, we can give you information about government benefits and ALS support groups to make managing your care less stressful.

For instance, ALS Canada has an equipment program that can help you manage the costs of retrofitting your home if necessary. To assist with caring for your loved one, the Government of Canada has extended the Compassionate Care Benefit to 26 weeks and you can receive up to $13, 624 to help you with bills and any time off work you may need to take that isn’t covered by vacation time or other leave.

Contact Retire at Home Halton for more information to help you understand what’s available to you:

Resources:

Learn more: ALS.ca

ALS at the Oscars:

 

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