Arthritis strikes millions of elderly Americans every year. While the condition usually starts out slow and then progress, there are many ways that seniors can reduce the pain and stiffness that the disease brings. When elderly adults take a proactive approach to their arthritis, there are actually a lot of things they can do to reduce the symptoms and minimize their impact. It is then that seniors can really embrace life despite their condition.
Lets look at 16 things that family caregivers should know about arthritis and what it means for their aging loved one.
- Arthritis is a disease that causes inflammation of the joints and leads to swelling, pain and stiffness.
- Most arthritis sufferers are seniors, although in some cases younger adults and even children can develop some varieties.
- Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types of arthritis in elderly Americans.
- There is no known cause or cure for arthritis, although risk factors include age, obesity, genetics, and a previous joint or bone injury.
- Symptoms of arthritis often start out very mild and then increase over the years.
- Arthritis symptoms include stiffness and swelling in the joints, pain, along with warmth and redness.
- Doctors can set up a treatment plan that involves certain medications for arthritis that reduce swelling and ease pain.
- Lifestyle changes can affect how severe the effects of arthritis are and minimize its interference in an elderly persons life.
- Maintaining a healthy weight can really help with arthritis in seniors because obesity leads to extra stress on the joints.
- Regular exercise not only increases circulation to the affected areas, but it can loosen muscles, increase flexibility and release feel-good hormones to minimize pain.
- Heat treatments, such as heating pads, warm baths and electric blankets can alleviate arthritis symptoms for a short time.
- Arthritis can limit a persons ability to perform basic tasks around the home, such as meal prep, getting dressed, housekeeping and even driving.
- Many seniors hire senior care providers to reduce their stress levels and save them from overexertion, which can aggravate arthritis.
- Attending physical therapy and occupational therapy can help seniors with arthritis accomplish daily tasks, often with the help of family caregivers and senior care providers.
- Assistive tools and technology like walkers and grabbers allow seniors to accomplish some daily tasks on their own despite the challenges of arthritis.
- In some cases, doctor may recommend surgery to help with arthritis or replace the joint completely for pain relief and better movement.
With the right support group in place, elderly adults can do a lot to manage their arthritis, whether its in the mild stage or it has progressed more. Family caregivers, friends, doctors, senior care providers and more are always ready to help seniors live their life to the fullest and not let arthritis stand in the way of being happy and healthy.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in St. Louis Park, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.