Caring for a senior person can be challenging, and if they have arthritis, things can get even more difficult. While pain and stiffness in their joints restrict their ability to move or do anything, their morale also plummets with each passing day. Hence, their caregiver needs to double up as their counselor and friend too.
A brief about arthritis
Arthritis is a broad term that refers to joint pain. When caused due to the wear and tear of cartilages, it is known as osteoarthritis. If it is due to a high level of uric acid in the blood, it is known as gout (metabolic arthritis). And, when the immune system attacks the joints, it causes rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory arthritis.
Anyone can fall prey to arthritis, but seniors are more prone to developing it. The most commonly affected sites are knees, hips, and shoulders, but it can affect any joint. Its symptoms include pain, stiffness, and redness in joints, swelling in joints, and decreased range of motion.
It can be mild to severe. Even mild symptoms can interfere with a person’s ability to perform day to day chores.
If you are caring for a senior suffering from arthritis, we understand how difficult it can be for you to tend them. Hence, we have brought some useful tips for you. Here is how to take care of a senior suffering from arthritis:
- Understand their condition
If you understand the condition of your care recipient, it will be easier for you to chalk out a plan for proper assistance. For instance, if they have knee arthritis, they may need assistance with getting up and walking. If they have arthritis of the upper extremities, they might need assistance with getting dressed. Hence, try to understand their condition first.
- Communicate with them
Severe joint pain can take a toll on their mental and emotional wellbeing. Establishing an emotional bond with them will help them cope with their condition better.
Talk to your loved one about their condition. Letting out their pent up emotions will help them feel better.
- Run errands for them
People with arthritis face many challenges in their day-to-day life. Their joint pain makes it impossible for them to do regular tasks, like driving and even walking. If you are serving as their caregiver, step-in and make life easy for them.
Take them to their doctor’s appointment, for shopping, and run errands for them.
- Help them take their medications
Treatment of joint pain depends on the specific condition, but generally, doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain.
Your care-recipient may find it difficult to remember their medications, or if they have arthritis in their hands, they might not be able to open their medication bottles. Help your loved one take these medications on time to deal with joint pain.
- Encourage them to take physical therapy
Physical therapy is an optimum modality that helps in managing joint pain. Therapies, like electrical nerve stimulation, heat and cold therapy, ultrasound, and manipulation of joints, help in relieving pain, stabilizing and strengthening joints, and enhancing the range of motion.
Encourage them to take physical therapy in conjugation with traditional knee, hip, and shoulder pain treatment to manage the symptoms of arthritis.
- Encourage them to meditate
Mental techniques such as meditation, guided relaxation, and praying are potent tools that relieve pain symptoms. Encourage your care recipient to indulge in these therapies.
Counsel them, teach them breathing exercises to manage flare-ups.
- Keep a tab on their nourishment
Senior people with arthritis in their hands may not be able to cook for themselves. Being a caregiver, your responsibility also entails keeping your care recipient well fed.
Make sure you cook them fresh and healthy meals.
The bottom line
Weakness, back pain, and impaired hearing and vision make senility difficult, but arthritis can be disturbing. If you are caring for a senior suffering from arthritis, use these tips to make their life easy. And they’ll bless you.
Updated: January 29, 2021