ALS & the products that help
About ALS & Its Symptoms
The ALS Society of Canada describes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) as a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed. Once enough of these nerve cells begin to deteriorate, control of voluntary muscles becomes impaired and, as the disease progresses, eventually all muscle control will be lost, causing paralysis.
Mobility & Accessibility Devices
There are a number of devices that help people with ALS maintain their independence as their symptoms progress. Your healthcare team can help you determine the devices that are best for you.
Manual Wheelchairs are available in a wide range of styles and can be customized to optimize functionality. Basic chairs are suited for occasional use due to their weight, but are often adjustable to better match a user's physical requirements. Lightweight adjustable wheelchairs can be customized to an individual user and dramatically reduce the effort required to wheel the chair as they tend to be lighter in weight, thereby increasing maneuverability and functionality and lessoning the risk of repetitive use injuries of the shoulders, arms and hands.
Power Wheelchairs can provide enhanced mobility and independent positioning. Used both indoors and out, they are suitable for people who are unable to propel a manual wheelchair, but who have the ability to control their hand movements. Other types of driving controls may be available on select models, if a person no longer has sufficient hand control.
Bathroom Aids are essential for people with mobility impairments. Bath seats, transfer benches and bath boards, in combination with hand held showers, allow people to sit down while bathing to increase comfort and safety. Raised toilet seats make a toilet higher, making it easier for a person to stand up. Grab bars and toilet safety frames will also help to make bathrooms safer.
Commodes can be helpful for people who are not able to stand or who cannot stand for long periods of time, and are available with or without wheels. Those without wheels are typically used at the bedside and wheeled models can be rolled over a toilet. Shower commodes can also be used in an accessible shower.