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4 Ways to Treat Spina Bifida in the Elderly

By Nancy Delwaide, 9:00 am on

The congenital condition spina bifida occurs when the spine does not develop properly. The symptoms can be mild or severe, which is why sometimes the condition may go undetected. In fact, a senior with a mild version of spina bifida can go through life without knowing he or she has the condition. However, some symptoms of spina bifida can have a greater impact on your loved one’s life and may require treatment. Oakville elder care experts look at 4 ways the symptoms of spina bifida can be treated in seniors.

1. Tethered Cord Treatment

In a healthy human, the spinal cord moves freely within the spinal column whenever the individual bends or twists. Seniors who have spina bifida often develop a condition in which the cord becomes tethered to the bone, which can cause permanent damage. Tethered cord treatment is a type of surgery in which a doctor dislodges the cord and smoothens the surface of the bone so it does not become tethered again. 

2. Dietary Changes

Having spina bifida increases your loved one’s risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and a variety of other weight-related conditions. Because exercising is often challenging for seniors who have this condition, it is vital for your loved one to stick to a healthy diet. In addition to eating fresh produce and lean protein, your loved one should also be sure to get enough fiber in the diet to avoid exacerbating any bowel issues. 

3. Therapy

Seniors who have been diagnosed with chronic conditions such as spina bifida have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and feelings of isolation. Treating these conditions can enhance your loved one’s quality of life as well as the outlook he or she has on the condition. While therapists are one option, your loved one can also benefit from attending support groups.

4. Postural Modification

Another common side effect of spina bifida is chronic back pain, which practically everyone who has this condition is likely to experience at some point. While painkillers can temporarily dull the pain, chemical prescriptions should not be viewed as a permanent solution. Instead, you and your loved one can speak with a physical therapist about postural modification, which is the process of actively changing the posture while sitting and standing to alleviate some of the pressure on damaged nerves.

If your loved one has spina bifida, a caregiver from Home Care Assistance, a trusted name in elder care, can provide the help he or she needs to maintain a higher quality of life. As a leading provider of live-in care and respite care Oakville families can count on, we provide exceptional home care for seniors with spina bifida and other specialized needs, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Call (905) 337-1200 to speak to one of our Care Managers to discuss home care options and to schedule an in-home consultation.