Arthritis affects millions of Americans over the age of 65 and it can range from mild to severe. The stiffness, pain and swelling of the joints can significantly limit a senior’s ability to do even the smallest tasks. If the arthritis is serious enough, it can even prevent seniors from living independently. Their reliance on family caregivers to help them grows as the joint disease progresses.
There are many things about arthritis that family caregivers need to understand so they can provide the help and support their loved one truly needs.
Symptoms: Arthritis symptoms include swelling, pain, tenderness and stiffness. It can occur in any joint, but is most common in the hands, shoulders, hips, back, neck, knees and feet. Arthritis usually starts out quite mild, allowing seniors to get through their day with little more than an uncomfortable feeling. However, as the disease progresses, elderly adults may experience high levels of pain and stiffness that interfere with daily life.
Causes: There are two different causes of arthritis. The first, rheumatoid arthritis, takes place when the body’s immune system somehow attacks certain material in the joints. This causes swelling and inflammation, which eventually destroys the protective material surrounding the joints as well as any bone or cartilage there. The second, osteoarthritis, is caused by years of wear and tear of the joints. Eventually, the protective coating around the bones wears away so that bones grind on bones. Injuries and infections can speed up this process.
Impact: When arthritis reaches a point where seniors are prevented from doing tasks around the house, they can no longer live completely independently. Family caregivers usually take over many of these duties for their elderly relatives. From housekeeping and laundry to meal preparation and more, family caregivers devote a lot of time and energy to taking care of their elderly relative. In turn, seniors with arthritis often slow down considerably, avoiding outings and events and remaining sedentary.
Treatment: Although there isn’t a cure for arthritis, doctors can help elderly adults with some treatments designed to ease pain and discomfort. Treatments include pain relief medication, physical therapy, therapeutic massages and a healthy diet. Regular treatments can slow down the progress of the arthritis and can manage the symptoms well enough, so seniors can be more active.
Support: Family caregivers are often too busy to spend all their time assisting their aging relatives. Hiring an elderly care provider is the ideal solution for seniors who struggle and family caregivers with other duties. Elderly care providers come at regularly scheduled times and assist where they are needed. They can help with light housekeeping and laundry, as well as be there for the aging adult when they have self-care issues such as dressing, grooming and toileting. Aging adults will definitely see their quality of life improve with an elderly care provider in their life, despite their arthritis diagnosis.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services in Newton MA, or anywhere in Eastern Massachusetts, please call the caring staff at CARE Resolutions – (508) 906-5572.
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