3 Questions About Multiple Sclerosis and the Elderly

With March as National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness and Education Month, family caregivers and their elderly loved ones have the unique opportunity to get more information and tap into helpful resources that can ease the transition into life with MS. Late onset MS has a long-lasting effect on elderly adults because the symptoms come on quickly and progress rapidly.

Home Care Lake Mary FL - 3 Questions About Multiple Sclerosis and the ElderlyThere’s no doubt that multiple sclerosis is a debilitating disease that eventually robs people of the ability to walk or care for themselves independently. Most people know that multiple sclerosis, or MS, strikes primarily at adults in their 20’s and 30’s. However, a small percentage of new cases occur in seniors over the age of 50. This late onset multiple sclerosis can be hard to diagnose, and it manifests much more quickly than in younger adults.

Here are 3 important questions for family caregivers to understand.

Question #1: Is late onset MS common in elderly adults?

The disease known as multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition that most often develops in young adults. However, late onset MS can also happen to adults over 50 years old. The disease causes the interruption of signals from the nerves throughout the body to the brain. To date, there is no cure for MS, late onset or otherwise. While late onset MS is not as common in seniors as in younger people, approximately five percent of all new MS cases annually are diagnosed in aging adults.

Question #2: What are the symptoms and treatments for late onset MS?

The most common symptoms of late onset MS are often confused with other age-related diseases, making it a challenge to diagnose early in seniors. The signs of MS include tingling and numb feelings in the extremities, extreme fatigue, tremors, poor vision, lack of focus and muscle weakness. In seniors, the symptoms progress more rapidly than in younger adults. Treatment for MS includes medications that help control some of the symptoms and may slow down the progress of the disease a bit.

Question #3: How can family caregivers assist an elderly loved one with late onset MS?

As the disease progresses, elderly adults will face many challenges in their lives. They will soon be unable to take care of themselves and live independently at home. Family caregivers will need to assist their aging relative with many day-to-day tasks that relate to in-home care. One way to keep elderly adults with MS in their homes is to hire home care providers. Home care professionals assist with laundry, housekeeping, self-care and even transportation. Home care providers are trained to provide respite for family caregivers and provide top-quality assistance for seniors with all kinds of health issues, including late onset multiple sclerosis.

When it comes to learning as much as possible about MS and elderly adults, family caregivers should take advantage of the information and resources available during National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness and Education Month.

If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care Services in Lake Mary FL, please contact the caring staff at Flourish in Place Home Care Solutions today.  Proudly serving Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Brevard Counties. Call 407-845-9797.


About Melanie Lee

Robert “Kim” Lee and Melanie Ann Lee founded Flourish in Place to help seniors and adults with disabilities thrive and flourish while leading dignified and independent lives in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Kim and Melanie raised three remarkable children while helping care for Melanie’s wonderful mother, Kathryn, who lived a rich life despite dealing with bipolar disorder all her life and suffering later from post-polio syndrome. Melanie has cared for her intellectually disabled older sister for the past 18 years as Melinda’s court-appointed plenary guardian. Kim’s mother, Betsy, suffers from severe dementia. She lives in her own home with the help of compassionate family members as well as paid caregivers. Kim and Melanie’s life experiences caring for others influenced their desire to help people not merely “age in place” -- but flourish at home. Kim and Melanie are both Certified Senior Care Managers. Melanie is also a science teacher.
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