Though the hardships of ALS can create mental health challenges and isolation, it may help to find support and strength from people who are going through or have gone through similar experiences. During this COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining a real-time connection with others has become all the more critical for our emotional health, and a support group provides an opportunity for people to share personal experiences and feelings, coping strategies, and firsthand information.
Begun in July of this year, our Chapter’s Virtual Support Group exists to help keep people with ALS and ALS caregivers connected emotionally in a time where we are not able to meet in person. Through this virtual community, we hope to help everyone feel closer.
Continue reading Not in This Alone—New Virtual Support Group Offers Sense of Community
This week we continue our “Chapter & Verse” series where we allow you to get to know the people who make up the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter a little bit better. Today we hear from Care Service Coordinator Lori Dobbs, who has been with our chapter for 10 years.
Continue reading Chapter & Verse: Lori Dobbs
Conversations about end-of-life care and advance care planning are difficult in the best of circumstances. For those with ALS and their families, these conversations present their own challenges, and the challenges of these conversation are often unique. It can be hard to think about planning for the future while the present has so many complications of its own. It can also be upsetting to think about declining abilities and the inevitable outcome of the disease. But having these important conversations about the future at a time and place that you decide can provide piece of mind for everyone involved.
Continue reading Having the Conversations None of Us Want to Have
This past year on ALS Connect, our goal has been to feature a wide variety of stories and information to highlight the different facets of ALS, including caregiver tips, living with ALS and updates on research and advocacy.
Featuring people on the front lines battling ALS resonates with others who may not know the personal impact of ALS or have experienced something similar. And because ALS affects more than just the individual with the diagnosis, those perspectives are important as well. Here were some of those posts from over the last year:
Continue reading Highlights from ALS Connect in 2018
During your loved one’s journey with ALS, did friends, coworkers, or medical professionals make well-meaning but insensitive comments? Even the most well-intentioned person can utter inappropriate “words of encouragement” and behave in a hurtful manner. Being around terminal illness can make people uncomfortable, and as a result, they unintentionally say the exact wrong thing. As a caregiver, it’s not uncommon to hear, “It’s God’s will,” “Things happen for a reason,” “I don’t know how you do it,” “I know how you feel,” and “Aren’t you relieved that it is all over?”, among others. Isn’t it preferable to be a good listener, do a helpful chore for the family, or give a hug, which are true expressions of kindness and compassion?
Continue reading Caregiver Confidential: Say What?
Everyone responds differently when life throws him or her a curve ball, and an ALS diagnosis might be the fastest curve ball life has to offer. Some respond by “hitting that ball back” and go on with life fairly quickly, while others may need more time to adjust to the news and come up with a plan. There is no right or wrong way to feel when faced with this diagnosis.
Most of us have heard about the stages of acceptance, grief and loss. These stages describe different reactions one might have, including denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and ending with acceptance. Acceptance does not mean giving up on hopes or dreams. It should be the first step in making the most of life with ALS. There is much to be done to help someone live a fuller and enjoyable life.
Continue reading Coping with the “New Normal” after an ALS Diagnosis
While reading online the other day, I came across a popular saying that I hadn’t seen in a while: “It takes a village.” Although familiar with its general meaning, which refers to the communal raising of children, in a broader context, can’t the concept of a “village” also apply to caregiving for a loved one with a terminal illness? Doesn’t it take many individuals—caregivers, medical and social services professionals, friends, and family members, all working together—to provide the best possible care for an ALS patient?
Continue reading Caregiver Confidential: It Takes a Village
The toll that ALS takes on a family is devastating – and can strain a family emotionally, physically and financially. The ALS Association helps ease the physical, emotional and financial burdens that often accompany an ALS diagnosis by providing free programs and services to help people with ALS and their loved ones manage this journey. We also have an extensive referral network and can help identify additional support within the community.
Continue reading More Resources for People with ALS
Navigating the maze of health insurance is challenging for anyone and can be particularly overwhelming for people with ALS. We’ve compiled some tips and information that may help save you time and energy spent figuring out the complicated web of insurance benefits.
Continue reading Understanding Insurance and Benefits When You Have ALS
ALS is very difficult to diagnose — often taking up to a year from when the first symptoms appear until a definitive diagnosis is reached. Why is diagnosing a person with ALS such a challenging and long process? Here are a few reasons that can contribute to the delay:
Continue reading Diagnosing ALS