What You Need to Know about Arthritis and Senior Care
Did you know that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States? Unfortunately, many seniors struggle with this disease. Over 54 million adults in the US have been diagnosed with a form of arthritis. Since the condition is common among seniors, it is important to understand the symptoms and effects of arthritis when caring for them.
Basic Facts about Arthritis
A word used to describe joint pain and joint disease; arthritis comes in many forms. Some of the most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Seniors often develop osteoarthritis.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
This form of arthritis occurs when the cartilage breaks down. Cartilage is the tissue that covers the ends of bones at joints. Cartilage is mainly found in joints like the knees, hips, and shoulders. When the cartilage breaks down, the bones can rub against each other, wearing away at the bones, reducing mobility, and causing stiffness and pain.
Who does Osteoarthritis Affect?
Typically, osteoarthritis occurs in older adults. It tends to occur as a part of aging since the cartilage is worn down over time and with extensive use.
Signs of Arthritis
- Stiffness in joints
- Stress related to pain
- Decreased flexibility in joints
- Noise when joints move
- Pain in joints during cold weather or after activity
How to Prevent Osteoarthritis
Although osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear, it is preventable to a point. Adults should take care to stretch and use their joints safely by bending to lift correctly. This may reduce or delay osteoarthritis if a person is prone to the condition.
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis cannot be cured or reversed. However, there are ways to reduce the pain and difficulties that result from the condition.
- Medications like Tylenol or NSAIDs can relieve pain.
- Physical therapy can reduce stiffness and improve mobility.
- Occupational therapy can offer alternative motions to avoid aggravating affected joints.
- Yoga, tai chi, and other gentle exercises can relieve pain and stress.
- Medical injections can relieve pain.
- Surgeries can protect bones or replace severely damaged joints.
Seniors’ “feeling the cold in their bones” isn’t a joke. Cold weather can exacerbate osteoarthritis pain. Support seniors with arthritis by helping them stay warm and offering extra help with physical tasks when it’s chilly. (Very Well Health)