Most people providing elderly care for an aging loved one will encounter arthritis as one of their loved one’s chronic complaints. The term arthritis simply refers to joint inflammation, and is actually a blanket term applied to over 100 different diseases the impact all of the joints in the human body. All of these diseases share the effect of causing swelling, tightness and even pain in the joints. The most common effect of arthritis is limited mobility. Among seniors, the most common of the arthritic diseases is osteoarthritis. It is estimated that more than half of aging adults over the age of 65 experience chronic osteoarthritis and at least one of the joints of their body. Elderly care for seniors suffering from arthritis will have a primary goal of easing the negative effects of the disease so that they can be properly managed and the senior can continue to enjoy an active and productive lifestyle.
Some of the ways that an elderly care provider can help an aging loved one manage symptoms of arthritis include:
- Many seniors with arthritis find relief from the pain and stiffness of the disease through application of either cold or heat. Some even use both alternately. Heat can come in the form of a heated blanket, a hot tub, taking a warm bath or using a heating pad, while cold is generally applied with an ice pack
- Symptoms of arthritis are often made worse by getting cold. Encouraging your aging loved one to sleep in warm pajamas or use flannel sheets or extra blankets can help his body stay warm and ease symptoms
- Though it may seem as though moving around will make the pain and stiffness worse, exercise that has been approved by your loved one’s doctor can help to reduce stiffness and improve range of motion
- If your aging loved one is overweight, reducing the weight by even 10 percent can take a huge amount of strain off of the joints, thereby reducing pain and encouraging greater flexibility
- Exercising in the pool is generally much less stressful and less painful for seniors suffering from arthritis. The water helps to support the body and reduce strain on the joints so that your aging loved one can participate in more activities without suffering worse pain.