Arthritis is one of the most common issues of older age, with more than 54 million people throughout the United States suffering from this condition. As a family caregiver for an elderly adult, it is important to remember that the risk for developing this condition increases with age, and that despite the frequency with which people develop it, arthritis can still be make a tremendous impact on your parent’s life. The symptoms of arthritis can include severe pain, stiffness, swelling, loss of flexibility, and loss of range of motion in the joints. Though people often think of the hips and knees when considering this impact, one of the places that many people experience arthritis and notice its effects most seriously is the hands.
Pain and stiffness in the hands is not just uncomfortable. It can also make it much more difficult for your elderly loved one to complete their basic daily tasks and participate in the activities that they enjoy, and can even put them in danger. Helping them to ease this pain and stiffness, and learn to work around their arthritis symptoms, can help them to better cope with their condition and maintain improved mental, emotional, and physical health and well-being as they age in place.
Use these tips to help your senior ease pain and stiffness and adapt their lifestyle to help them better cope with their arthritis:
• Warm up. If your senior’s hands are hurting or feel stiff, but are not swollen, heat can be helpful. Try filling a sock with dry rice and heating it in the microwave for one minute. Your parent can then hold and manipulate the sock to warm and loosen their joints.
• Cool down. If there is inflammation in the joints, avoiding heat is important as to not worsen this symptom. Instead, cold therapy can help with the pain. Try cool gel packs or using the same sock technique, but freezing it instead of heating it. Remember to never place ice or an ice pack directly on your parent’s skin as this can cause serious damage.
• Keep moving. While it might seem strange to think about moving a part of the body that hurts, keeping the joints active is extremely important for maintaining flexibility, range of motion, mobility, and pain management. Encourage your parent to move their hands regularly, including performing care activities such as playing with clay or using hand strengthening tools.
• Adapt. Something as seemingly simple as picking up a pot of coffee or opening a door can be difficult and dangerous for a senior with arthritis in their hands. Go through their home and identify tasks and items that pose these types of challenges for your senior so that you can make meaningful modifications to them. This might include replacing kitchen devices, or changing doorknobs and pulls out for handles.
Arthritis can be extremely challenging for your aging parent, and starting home care for them can be an exceptional choice to help them to achieve and maintain a higher quality of life as they age in place. This in-home senior care services provider can be with your aging parent on the schedule that is best for their needs, as well as for the level and type of care that you give them on a regular basis. This care provider will devise a highly customized approach to care, support, assistance, and encouragement tailored toward helping them to manage their individual needs, challenges, and limitations, as well as their personality and lifestyle goals. This is not just about helping them to handle the physical effects of their arthritis symptoms, though they can help them to do this through reminders that will support them in staying compliant and helping them to make good lifestyle choices such as staying active. Instead, the care provider can also offer companionship and support that will help them to maintain better mental and emotional health as they deal with the impact on this disease.
If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Professional Home Care in Wellington, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff at Assisting Hands Home Care at 561-829-3080 Today.