MND stands for Motor Neuron Disease, the name given to the group of diseases in which the nerve cells called motor neurons in the brain stem, nervous system, and spinal cord lead to muscle degeneration. Doing so affects the muscles that enable us to move, speak, breathe and swallow.
Motor neuron disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), affects everyone differently, and symptoms will vary in severity. Early symptoms may show but progress at different speeds in people making the progression of the disease hard to predict for those caring for someone living with MND. Effective management of symptoms means that people can live a good quality of life with care and support tailored to their needs.
Symptoms of motor-neuron disease
- Muscle weakness / muscle wasting / muscle cramps / muscle stiffness / muscle twitching
- Stiff joints affect mobility and movement
- Emotional lability
- Behavior changes – some people develop frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease
- weight loss
- Breathing problems
- Swallowing and saliva problems affect how you eat and drink
- Problems with speech and communication
How to support someone with motor-neuron disease
It can shock the whole family when your loved one is diagnosed with MND and can quickly lead to feelings of isolation, helplessness, and hopelessness for both the individual and relatives. To help support someone with MND, Tiacare health care specialists in the UK advise you to plan each week to give yourself time and family members to prepare and pace out the activity so that it won’t cause further stress or fatigue. Here are a few examples of preparing to spend time with your loved one.
MND & Sleep
People with MND often struggle with sleep due to symptoms of joint pain, excess saliva, and difficulty breathing, on top of the general stress of their diagnosis. We advise when caring for a loved one to assist in moving them into more comfortable positions and give reassuring conversations to promote relaxation, avoiding further stress.
MND & Fatigue
Fatigue is a common symptom of MND; we recommend planning your favorite activities and ensuring a healthy routine is established both insides, and outside the house doing activities you both enjoy, even if it may be just spending quality time together.
MND And Food
Because difficulty swallowing is a common symptom of MND, it’s crucial to modify food intake and swallowing techniques to prevent choking hazards. We recommend puréed (victimized or blended) foods that are smooth, moist, free from lumps, and, therefore, easier to swallow. However, we advise you to make sure your loved one has a good relationship with food so try to serve them foods they love and will want to keep eating that are vibrant and will maintain energy levels and improve the mood of your loved one.
Speech and Communication
We recommend seeking a speech and language therapist with experience working with MND to help with communication issues. As Speech starts to deteriorate, it will become increasingly difficult for both parties to communicate, causing pressure on both sides to talk, resulting in additional stress that can be avoided.
MND & Equipment
Mobility, communication, and respiratory support devices are just some equipment that can help MND sufferers. It can enable them to be more easily cared for and to stay more connected with their families and communities. To discover some great personal care products visit the Tiacare website here.
MND can affect day-to-day life, but planning and ensuring your loved one has everything they need to maintain an excellent quality of life will put your mind at ease. If you have any further queries or questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.