How to Help My Aging Mother with Peripheral Neuropathy

Often, our mothers are the most special ladies in our lives. But have you noticed something different as you aged?

You're the one who is in the caregiver's role. Now you're ensuring her needs are met and watching her struggle to do the simplest tasks.

Your usually active and energetic mother suffers from peripheral neuropathy. The things she used to enjoy doing are unbearable for her to do, thanks to the persistent numbness and pain in her feet.

So, what's the best way you can help her to ensure she lives a comfortable life? The answer lies in our blog post on managing neuropathy in seniors. By reading it, you'll discover practical tips and strategies to provide proper care to elders living with neuropathy.

The Common Cause of Peripheral Neuropathy in Older People

To help your elderly loved one, you must fully understand their condition and its symptoms. Doing so will allow you to understand the full tasks ahead regarding peripheral neuropathy management. 

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition characterized by damage to the peripheral nerves. 

It manifests through various symptoms and has several potential causes. Common causes include diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, infections that affect the nerves, and physical injuries. 

If your mother already has diabetes, you should learn and keep a look out for the risks of developing peripheral neuropathy. One of the hallmarks of poorly controlled diabetes is chronic hyperglycemia or high blood glucose levels.

High glucose in the bloodstream over time can directly damage the walls of the tiny blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen to the nerves. Over time, the small blood vessels become less efficient due to impaired blood circulation. 

The reduction in blood flow deprives peripheral nerves of essential nutrients and oxygen, leading to nerve degeneration. If you ever wonder why neuropathic pain in the elderly is so common, the lack of blood flow is the leading cause.

Discuss Peripheral Neuropathy Management

It’s essential for you to engage in regular discussions with your mother’s healthcare providers to learn proper neuropathy management care. Speaking with a team of professionals, including primary care physicians, neurologists, and physical therapists, helps ensure a comprehensive understanding of the condition and available treatment options. 

This team can offer insights into the latest therapies, supplements for neuropathy, and surgical interventions that might be necessary to alleviate symptoms in severe cases. These conversations allow you to coordinate the essential treatments and adjustments over time. 

In addition, you can monitor the effectiveness of the current management plan to ensure your mother’s needs are being met.  You become an advocate for your mother and ultimately provide a higher level of support and care that adapts to your mother’s changing needs in a responsive and empathetic manner.

Daily Life Adjustments

There’s a chance that your mother will be more prone to slip-and-fall accidents due to her condition. Research shows that elderly living with peripheral neuropathy are 2.3 times more likely to fall than those who don’t have the illness. This is due to the condition causing numbness and reducing balance in individuals. 

Implementing practical daily adjustments will enhance her safety and quality of life. Here are some ideas to help make her home safer:

  • Remove tripping hazards such as loose rugs, clutter, and cords from walkways. 
  • Install grab bars and handrails in the bathroom and along the stairs to provide support. 
  • Place non-slip mats in potentially slippery areas like the bathroom and kitchen. 

Foot care is also crucial when it comes to peripheral neuropathy. Check her feet regularly to look for injuries and prevent infections. She may even enjoy using neuropathy cream to reduce nerve pain symptoms. 

Consider buying specific shoes designed for neuropathy feet. These shoes have unique features like soft interiors, non-bindin uppers, and thick, cushioned soles to reduce pressure points.

These simple changes can profoundly impact their comfort and health. Your mother can live a safer and more enjoyable life thanks to the changes you made for her.

Leveraging Technology

One of the best ways to improve your mother’s daily living and safety is to leverage technology. For example, assistive devices can create a safer and more comfortable living environment for your elderly mother.

Motion sensor automatic lights can illuminate paths at night or in poorly lit areas. Voice-activated home systems are another fantastic tool, allowing for hands-free control of the home environment. This is especially helpful for those experiencing numbness or pain in their hands. 

Medical alert systems can be life-saving, providing immediate access to emergency services with a simple button. Mobile apps also play a crucial role in peripheral neuropathy management. 

These apps can help track medication schedules, send reminders for doses, and monitor various health parameters. Thanks to advanced technology, you and your mother can keep a close eye on health conditions in real-time. Together, these technologies boost safety and support the day-to-day management of peripheral neuropathy symptoms.

Providing Emotional and Social Support

The symptoms your mother is experiencing aren’t only physically painful but can also be emotionally taxing. Those living with peripheral neuropathy experience a loss of mobility, which can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration. 

Women are more likely to develop geriatric depression due to loss of mobility, especially if they do not have a support system. It’s crucial for you to address these emotional impacts with compassion and understanding. 

Simple gestures such as listening to her concerns or joining her in activities she enjoys can make a significant difference. You can also organize regular family gatherings, facilitate her participation in community senior events, and help her connect with support groups and forums online. Your mother can share experiences with others facing similar challenges and feel less alone about her condition.

Join Our Community for More Help

Our goal is to foster a community of support and education for those affected. Through resources and encouragement, we help ensure that individuals living with peripheral neuropathy feel supported not only physically but also emotionally and socially.

So, don’t feel as though you and your mother are in this alone. We are here to help in every way we can. Sign up for our newsletter to ensure you receive resources to help care for your elderly loved one living with peripheral neuropathy.