Arthritis is an umbrella term that refers to joint disease. People often talk about arthritis as if it were a single condition, but there are actually numerous different types and causes of arthritis. Sometimes arthritis is caused by wear and tear on the cartilage that cushions the joints. This is called osteoarthritis. Other times, arthritis can be caused by too much uric acid in a person's blood (known as metabolic arthritis) or even the body's own immune system (known as inflammatory arthritis).
People of all ages can get arthritis, but this condition is most common in seniors. That's because, over the course of a lifetime, the cartilage protecting a person's joints gets worn down, and there's no way to replace it once it is gone. While lifestyle factors can prevent against osteoarthritis somewhat, even otherwise healthy seniors can develop the condition — there's no guaranteed way to avoid it.
Arthritis can range from mild to severe. Even mild symptoms can interfere significantly with a person's quality of life and ability to live independently. Severe symptoms can make it difficult for a person to function. Some common symptoms of arthritis include:
Pain in the joints
Stiffness in the joints, especially after not moving for a while
Redness or a feeling of warmth around the joints
Decreased range of motion
Arthritis can occur in any of the body's joints, but it is most common in the hips, knees, back, and hands. Symptoms usually get worse with time. There's no cure for arthritis, but the right treatment can help to relieve pain and allow people to move more freely. Other solutions, such as hiring a home caregiver, can also help people with arthritis manage the demands of everyday life more easily.
10 Ways Home Caregivers Can Help Seniors Manage Arthritis Symptoms
Arthritis can make life tougher for seniors, but there are ways to cope. Seniors who are struggling to deal with their arthritis on top of the daily responsibilities of life might benefit enormously from home care services. Learn how a home caregiver can help a client manage arthritis symptoms.
1. A caregiver can help with chores and maintenance around the house.
Scrubbing, sweeping, dusting, making repairs — all the normal chores of home maintenance become more difficult for somebody with arthritis. A caregiver can take over housekeeping tasks for their client, ensuring their client doesn't have to hurt themselves keeping their home neat and clean.
2. Home care services can assist with running errands or taking clients to doctor's appointments.
Driving can become difficult or impossible for seniors with arthritis. But with a caregiver's help, these seniors don't need to stay home or depend on public transportation for rides. Caregivers can help their clients continue to go to the doctor, shop for groceries, and do all the other errands they're accustomed to doing.
3. Caregiving services help seniors continue to get the nutrition they need.
For seniors with arthritis in their hands, cooking can be a pain — literally. This can lead to not eating enough, or it can lead to choosing unhealthy packaged food that doesn't require much preparation. A caregiver can prevent both of these outcomes by cooking fresh, nutritious meals for their clients. This can be especially helpful for seniors who are trying to lose weight to ease their arthritis symptoms.
4. A caregiver can help to administer pain-relieving medication to clients.
Some seniors have trouble remembering to take their medications, while others with arthritis in their hands may struggle to get their medication bottles open. A caregiver can help their clients stick to their medication regimen. Caregivers can also help by applying pain-relieving lotions to areas that might be hard for seniors to reach themselves.
5. A trained home caregiver can help clients with exercises that improve their range of motion.
Doing the right exercises can help seniors with arthritis maintain their range of motion for as long as possible. A home caregiver who's trained in helping clients with arthritis can help seniors do these exercises every day with proper form.
6. Home care services can help seniors maintain an active social life.
Socializing is particularly important for people who are dealing with health issues like arthritis. Seeing friends and loved ones can give seniors with arthritis a much-needed mood boost and even distract them from their pain. A home caregiver can help their client get out of the house and visit people on a regular basis.
7. Caregivers can encourage seniors to stay active in whatever capacity they can.
It's important for people with arthritis to exercise. Sitting still can actually make the disease worse. But many people with arthritis are understandably reluctant to exercise, which is why the encouragement of a caregiver can be so helpful. Caregivers can encourage their clients to walk, swim, do tai chi, or engage in other exercises that are gentle on the joints.
8. Home care ensures that seniors with arthritis can get the rest they need.
Sometimes arthritis pain is unavoidable. It's important for seniors with arthritis to get plenty of rest when their joints start to hurt. Having a caregiver around ensures that seniors can sit down and take a break when they need to.
9. A home caregiver can help clients deal with arthritis pain through relaxation, meditation, and other techniques.
Mental techniques, like guided relaxation, meditation, and praying, can all help people with arthritis get some relief from their symptoms. Caregivers can help seniors use these techniques. For instance, a caregiver might coach a client through a deep-breathing session when their symptoms flare up.
10. A home caregiver can make a client's living environment safer and more arthritis-friendly.
People with arthritis are at increased risk for falling and injuring themselves at home. A trained caregiver can make their client's house safer by keeping floors clear of tripping hazards, ensuring that areas are well-lit, and placing items at waist height instead of on high shelves.
Home Care Services for Seniors with Arthritis
Arthritis can't be cured, but it can be managed. With the right treatment and care, a senior with arthritis can continue living a satisfying and independent life. Hiring home care services is one good way for seniors to continue living on their own while keeping their arthritis pain manageable.
If you need home care services in California, please reach out to Alegre Home Care and ask us about our home caregivers!