If you care for an aging parent who has arthritis, there are ways to help your loved one reduce pain, inflammation, and overall discomfort. Here are some of the top tips for managing senior arthritis.
1. Encourage Consistent Motion
Although one of the major symptoms of arthritis is limited mobility, those living with the condition can actually benefit from regular activity. For instance, a short walk each day can relieve stiffness. Stretching exercises can also enhance range of motion and flexibility in seniors who experience joint stiffness. Seniors who can follow consistent stretching routines, whether alone or with help from family members or professional caregivers, can better minimize the long-term problems associated with arthritis.
A home caregiver can help your loved one exercise in safety and comfort. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality at-home care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
2. Try Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy can be beneficial for elderly individuals who are trying to overcome arthritis. Being in the water provides an opportunity to perform flexibility exercises, and the lack of pressure will make the movements easier. If the water is heated, muscles and tendons in the body will expand. This expansion will create momentary relief from the pain associated with arthritis. Short sessions of 30 to 60 minutes are advisable for seniors just getting involved in hydrotherapy.
3. Make Dietary Changes
There are some simple dietary changes a senior can make to help with arthritis. Increasing the consumption of lean protein is one way to boost muscular strength. This will also reduce swelling associated with arthritis if the protein is from certain types of fish, such as salmon. Avoiding saturated fats is also essential because these fats have been shown to slow down metabolism and, in certain cases, increase swelling throughout the body.
If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Tucson seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
3. 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, a senior who is experiencing swelling in the knees may jump to the conclusion he or she will need a wheelchair in a year. If your loved one seems too pessimistic, help him or her implement positive strategies, such as getting enough sleep, practicing mindfulness meditation, and speaking with a therapist.
4. Consider Medications
There are plenty of medication options for arthritis, including over-the-counter pills such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs. Some arthritis creams contain capsaicin, an ingredient that can momentarily desensitize the affected area to pain. Seniors can also try supplements such as 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.
Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Tucson, AZ, 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. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (520) 214-5440.