alzheimer's care

Tips on Caring For an Elderly Person with Arthritis

Arthritis can be painful and difficult for the elderly to deal with so it’s good to know how to help those with arthritis when necessary. Knowing about the different types of arthritis can also be very helpful. It’s the best way to assist those with arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritisarthritic elderly hand opening a pill bottle

There are two different types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis causes swelling of the joints as well as joint damage. It’s an autoimmune disorder that can best be treated with medication. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between the joints disintegrates. This causes the bones to rub against each other. Both types of arthritis can cause the joints to become inflamed and stiff which makes it hard for those with arthritis to move their joints. Arthritis most commonly occurs in the joints of the hands, wrists, knees and feet which can make it hard for those with arthritis to move around or pick things up.

Medications

Medications are the best way to manage arthritis, but many seniors forget to take their medication regularly or only take it when their pain becomes excruciating. It’s important to make sure that they are familiar with the medication.

  • Make sure they are taking it as prescribed so that their symptoms can be kept under control.
  • Many seniors also have trouble opening their medication because of their joint pain so it can be helpful to put the medication into an alternate container that is easier for them to open.
  • Cold packs or heat packs are also very helpful for relieving joint pain from arthritis.

Strengthening the Muscles

Strengthening the muscles surrounding arthritic joints is another way to help alleviate pain. Many doctors and physical therapists can suggest exercises that can be completed at home on a regular basis that will strengthen their muscles and allow for easier joint movements. When seniors are not exercising their muscles they should try to limit their movements that require usage of the joints that are affected with arthritis. Having them move slowly and fluidly is also helpful because it puts less wear on the already damaged joints. Also, it’s important to discourage the lifting of heavy objects and encourage them to rest their joints as much as possible.

Exercise Plan

Another thing to consider when dealing with arthritis is a diet and exercise plan. It is important for those with arthritis to watch their weight. Excess weight can make arthritis symptoms worse since the extra weight puts more strain on the muscles and joints. Encourage them to exercise on a regular basis or exercise with them so that they can stay in shape and maintain a healthy body weight. Another way to help them watch their weight is by making sure that they eat healthy meals on a daily basis.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants which can help slow the progression of arthritis and aid in metabolism.

Accessibility

Finally, one thing that can be done is to make sure that things in the home are easily accessible. Keeping scissors on hand for opening packages can be very helpful for those with arthritis because the pain and inflammation can make opening things very difficult. Electric can openers and tools for opening jars are also useful, especially for those who do not have a live-in caregiver. Seniors might not think to buy these things on their own, but purchasing these items can be an inexpensive way to help. Following these tips can help assist in the managing of arthritis pain. Please keep in mind that joint pain and inflammation can make even the simplest of daily tasks extremely difficult.  Being very patient and helpful will make caring for them a lot easier. If taking care of them is still troublesome, then speak with their doctor to get additional information or consider hiring a home care service provider in the area.

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