While the symptoms of arthritis can make daily life difficult, there are plenty of ways to manage the pain. When assisting arthritic seniors, caregivers can implement various treatment options on a trial-and-error basis, as each senior with arthritis will react differently to different treatments. Here are five ways to address arthritis in elderly people.
1. Promote Positive Thinking
When experiencing pain, seniors with arthritis often lapse into negative thinking. However, negative thought cycles can increase the intensity and duration of the pain. Catastrophizing is a type of negative thinking that dwells on the worst-case scenario, and it can worsen arthritis symptoms. For example, seniors who experience swelling in their knees may jump to the conclusion that they’ll need wheelchairs soon. If your loved one seems too pessimistic, help him or her implement positive strategies, such as getting enough sleep, practicing mindful meditation, and speaking with a therapist.
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2. Encourage Exercise
Arthritis symptoms may make seniors wary of exercise. However, exercising is one of the best ways to stretch the joints and reduce inflammation. Many arthritic seniors enjoy stretching exercises like yoga and Pilates, while others prefer low-impact activities like walking and gardening. Your loved one can try water aerobics, which is designed to exercise and stretch the body without placing pressure on the joints.
3. Offer Help with Daily Chores
Many seniors don’t like being reminded of their limitations. When seniors with arthritis try to do too much, it can exacerbate the condition. For example, a senior with arthritis in the hands may not be able to wash and dry the dishes each night. Instead of letting your loved one perform daily tasks that lead to unnecessary pain, offer assistance whenever possible. You can also suggest modifications to the daily routine that allow your loved one to continue enjoying favorite hobbies and activities. If your loved one enjoys gardening, install a raised flower bed in the backyard so he or she can garden without having to bend over for hours.
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4. Consider Medications
There are plenty of medication options for arthritis, including over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen and NSAIDs. Some arthritis creams contain capsaicin, an ingredient that can momentarily desensitize the affected area to pain. Seniors can also try supplements like glucosamine, which increases the resilience of the cartilage that surrounds joints. Keep track of your loved one’s medication schedule, and apply creams, heating pads, and ice packs when necessary. Before your loved one takes any new medication, make sure to clear it with his or her doctor.
5. Buy the Right Shoes
For seniors with arthritis, poorly designed shoes can lead to plenty of pain. Choose shoes that have rubber soles, which offer extra cushioning, and shock absorption features, which reduce the pressure on the feet and knees. Wedges are also helpful, as they can redirect pain away from the knees.
Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior care. Dallas, TX, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. To learn more about our premier in-home care plans, call us at (214) 363-3400 today.