Health Literacy

What Is the Best Way to Care for a Family Member Who Has Essential Tremor?

Hands Elderly Tremors

It is often strange how those suffering from essential tremors are treated. With how common the condition is, it can be surprising how few people have an understanding of the condition. It can be especially frustrating for those who have to care for an elderly member of the family who happens to have an essential tremor. After all, essential tremor has a habit of getting worse with age, which means what was once a minor issue has likely escalated into something worse.

Unfortunately, those who suffer from essential tremor tend to suffer from social phobia and anxiety due to the condition. The fact that it has gotten worse over the years likely means that it is easier to be upset about the condition – which in turn worsens the essential tremor symptoms. It can feel like an insurmountable challenge to manage, and it gets even trickier for those who have the responsibility of caring for a family member with the condition. Here are just a few quick tips to give both you and your family member an easier time managing the symptoms.

Ensure that the sufferer gets an appropriate amount of sleep

Perhaps one of the most significant factors when it comes to essential tremor is the physical state. Physical exhaustion can have a habit of creeping up on you, and it does not necessarily have to come with plenty of physical labor. All it takes for exhaustion to set in is not to get enough hours of sleep. Even for the elderly, restlessness and difficulty sleeping are common.

As someone who is caring for a family member with the condition, it is vital that you urge them to adapt to an appropriate sleeping schedule. Eight hours a day would be ideal, and if they happen to fall short, it would be a good idea to have them rest during the afternoon. Letting the exhaustion set in will only aggravate the symptoms, which is why the right sleeping habit makes a big difference.

Certain substances can aggravate symptoms

For example, did you know that caffeine and nicotine can cause the symptoms of essential tremor to get worse? While it is simple enough to ensure that the elderly family member avoids coffee and cigarettes, there are other substances that can make things worse. Certain things such as antidepressants and antiepileptics can actually cause the symptoms to surface, which is why it is never a bad idea to contact their doctor with regards to what type of medication to take. Aside from being prescribed the right medication, you will also deepen your understanding of what type of medication can be used without aggravating any of the symptoms.

When it comes to caring for those suffering from essential tremor, a bit of preparation can go a very long way. Ensure that none of the medication they are taking can accidentally cause the condition to get worse.

Utilize different methods to help deal with essential tremor

Caring for a family member who happens to have the condition can be frustrating if you are unsure of how to make things better for them. Fortunately, you do not have to get the job done on your own. There are professionals who specialize in conditions such as essential tremor, and they can make things much easier to handle. Occupational therapists are recommended as they specialize in helping those with problems such as essential tremor get back to work. Even if the idea is not necessarily to help them get back to working, it can still help make specific acts easier, such as writing, or eating.

Another good example would be to make use of wrist weights. They can help stabilize the hands of the sufferer, and make things more comfortable during bouts of shaking. There are also larger utensils you can purchase to make things convenient, as well as clothes that are easy to put on and take off. Why bother with inconveniences such as buttons when you have clothes that emulate the same look but are easier to put on?

As much as possible, keep stress levels low

It is a well-known fact that one of the triggers of tremors happens to be anxiety or agitation. High-stress situations can cause bouts of shaking that will only get worse as the elderly family member is embarrassed by their condition. It can be a vicious cycle that is challenging to overcome – but it is more than possible with your help.

After all, while it is unfortunate that anxiety can make things worse, it provides a clear course of action for those who want to help deal with essential tremors. All you have to do is focus on helping your elderly family member relax. Placing them in a peaceful and relaxing environment, as well as keeping the tone of your voice calm and leveled can go a very long way to making things more comfortable for the person in your care.

Pace yourself, and relax

While it is similar to the lines of keeping stress levels low, it is crucial not to get high-strung when it comes to caring for the family member. It is an opportunity to bond with them, and a chance for both of you to kick back and laugh at all things grand in life. If they are not comfortable with the idea of going out to eat, you can bring the restaurant to them by ordering takeout. You can watch a movie, or play games. There are plenty of ways to find fun while caring for someone with essential tremor.

Abby is a marketing and communications specialist who specializes in event promotion, reputation management and branding. She loves EDM and probably should cut down on her caffeine.

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