Quality of Life in Patients with Degenerative Diseases

August 18, 2019
Degenerative diseases are difficult for patients and their families to cope with. This is why it’s important to focus on the positive aspects of patients' lives to help them make the most of the time they have. Read on for some tips on how to improve the quality of life of a patient with a degenerative disease.

Most people believe that a good quality of life consists of good physical and mental health. Consequently, when they get sick, it feels like everything is falling apart and life isn’t worth living. This is a common problem for patients with degenerative diseases.

It’s important to remember that quality of life isn’t measured only by your health. There are many other important factors, which is good news for people with degenerative diseases who are concerned about their quality of life.

Before we talk about those factors, let’s clarify what exactly are degenerative diseases.

What is a degenerative disease?

Degenerative diseases are chronic conditions in which certain cells deteriorate over time. That compromises the quality of the bodily tissues and can even cause them to stop working. These diseases, in contrast to infectious diseases, aren’t caused by outside forces.

Some examples of well-known degenerative diseases are those that affect the central nervous system. As a result, they affect the patients’ brain function, which can affect cognitive function as well as motor control. The two most famous ones are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

An old man looking out the window.

However, degenerative diseases don’t just affect the nervous system. These diseases affect many kinds of tissues and organs.

It’s difficult for patients and their families to cope with degenerative diseases because they’re incurable and limit patients’ independence and freedom of movement. However, it’s also important to emphasize that these diseases don’t completely limit patients’ quality of life.

How to improve the quality of life of patients with degenerative diseases

Quality of life is an abstract concept that’s difficult to define, although most people relate it to well-being. That being said, there are certain factors that increase quality of life. For example, personal relationships and self-esteem are probably part of most people’s idea of happiness. Thus, it’s helpful for patients with degenerative diseases to focus on these elements in their own lives.

  • Good family environment. Close family members should support the patient. It’s important for the patient not to feel like a burden.
  • Active social life. Belonging to a group is important for your quality of life. There are many support groups for people with chronic illnesses. There, patients can express their concerns and learn from others’ experiences. Seeking out a support group is a great way to increase patients’ well-being.
  • Physical health. If you want to feel good about yourself on the inside, you have to take care of your outside self. That’s why patients with degenerative diseases shouldn’t neglect their physical appearance. Help them look their best and feel their best. This works wonders for patients’ mood.
A granddaughter with her grandma.

Other ways to help patients with degenerative diseases

In addition to what we’ve already mentioned, there are many other therapies that can improve a patient’s quality of life. For example, equine-assisted therapy (horse-assisted therapy).

No matter which you choose, the important point is that there are many ways to help people with chronic illnesses improve their quality of life. If you’re in this situation or know someone who is, remember that there’s always something you can do.