In my most recent blog post, I spoke briefly about arthritis, and how it can potentially make activities like brushing or flossing very difficult for older adults. This week, we’ll further discuss elderly arthritis, as well as some proven ways to lessen its effects.
One out of five adults in the United States has some form of arthritis. This includes one half of all adults 65 and over. Though there are multiple types of arthritis, including rheumatoid (which generally attacks before the age of 60), gout and fibromyalgia, the most common form in elderly adults is osteoarthritis. This occurs when the cartilage that pads joints begins to disappear, causing bones to rub painfully against each other. The most common areas for osteoarthritis are the hips, knees, hands, lower back, neck and hips.
Arthritis is more common in those who also suffer from other chronic conditions. The CDC reports that 49% of those with heart disease, and 47% of those with diabetes, also have arthritis. It also affects 44% of people with high blood pressure and 31% of obese individuals.
If your elderly loved one suffers from arthritis, be careful when self-medicating. Over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are popular for tackling temporary arthritis pain, but longer-lasting afflictions could be the result of behaviors that can best be studied and treated by a doctor.
Research shows that participating in regular physical activity, such as swimming, walking, or riding a bicycle, can help improve joint function and reduce overall pain. Exercises like dancing and weight training can also help, as they can assist with flexibility and promote stronger muscles to support joints. If overweight is an issue, talk with your parent and her physician to develop a plan to lose weight and take pressure off of her joints. A fitted cane could also assist in redistributing weight to areas other than affected joints.
The National Institute on Aging suggests that your elderly loved one learn the right way to use and protect his joints from injury. Even the right shoes can make all the difference. There are even gadgets out there that can assist with opening cans and jars.
Though arthritis is common, it is possible for your elderly loved one to manage it. Via some planning and a few lifestyle updates, a high quality of life can be retained, and enjoyed through the years.
There is so much to think about when entering the later stages of life. If you are considering elder care options, we at 805Aging can help. Our professional staff specializes in assisting you to choose the right kind of care for your loved one.
We conduct regular check-ins when you are unable to do so. 805Aging also provides oversight and detailed feedback to the family to keep your loved one safe and well-cared for day or night, weekday or weekend, holiday and every day.
We have the resources. We can hold your hand. We can guide you. Your peace of mind is our main goal, and is well assured. To find out more, call us at 805-750-4755 or visit our website and sign up for our monthly newsletter: www.805Aging.com.
There is no manual on how to take care of your parents as they age. They had a baby book when you were young. You have us. -Amy