What is all the fuss about the Ice Bucket Challenge? Loganholme Psychologist Lauren Brockie discusses the chilling disease behind this social phenomena …
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) – also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – is a progressive, fatal degenerative disease of the central nervous system that affects over 350,000 of the world’s population at any one time (1).
The Cold Hard Facts about MND
In Australia, on average, one person dies from MND every day (2).
There are considerable differences in the way in which the disease originally presents, the rate and progression of the disease and survival time (3). However, as the condition progresses, symptoms invariably escalate and the patient requires increased care (4).
Australian figures indicate that 70% of people with MND are still living at home four weeks prior to their death (2) and as with the majority of terminal illness, informal carers such as family members provide most of the daily care (5).
Caring for Somebody with MND
Carers of patients with MND can be deeply affected by the illness. Highlighting this are the clinically significant results from a large European study (6) by which reported that nearly 50% of carers of people with MND scored below the population norm on physical health, and more than 70% scored below the population norm on mental health, indicating the substantial effect this disease can have on carers’ Quality of Life (QoL).
Are you, or someone you know, a carer?
Providing care for a family member or friend can be very rewarding. Some carers comment on an increased level of personal self-belief, internal satisfaction and increased personal growth and life skills.
However, providing care can be very demanding and can bring about the following problems:
- financial hardship;
- emotional and physical health (chronic health conditions, psychological vulnerabilities, chronically tired);
- social isolation; and
- relationship changes.
It is easy to feel isolated when you are a carer. You tell yourself you are too busy to take time out to help yourself, or catch up with friends for a simple coffee. But, what do the flight attendants say during every inflight safety demonstration?
“If you are travelling with someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person”
The same applies here for carers!
If you are not looking after yourself, you cannot assist the person you are caring for as well as you would like.
Speaking with a psychologist means that you can receive emotional and psychological support, guidance in your caring relationship, behavioural management strategies and grief/transition/adjustment counselling. If you are looking for a safe place to debrief, and wanting to learn how to cope with your caring responsibilities more effectively, I welcome you to make an appointment with me.
Author: Lauren Brockie, B Beh Sc, PG Dip Psych, M Psych (Sport & Exercise), M Psych (Clinical), MAPS.
Lauren Brockie is an experienced psychologist, working with adults, couples, adolescents and children. Lauren has a special interest in working with carers to help them better understand and manage the situations, behaviours and relationships that come with their caring role. With a warm and practical approach, Lauren enjoys supporting and challenging her clients, to assist them with reaching their goals.
To make an appointment with Lauren Brockie, try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.
- Goldstein & Leigh, 1999; Love, Street, Harris & Lowe, 2005
- Sach & Associates, 2003
- Small & Rhodes, 2000
- Robinson & Hunter, 1998; Thomas 2001
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1999
- Jenkinson and colleagues, 2000