Coping With Osteoarthritis For Seniors

Arthritis in knee MRI

MRI of osteoarthritis in the knee. Image Credit: Scuba-limp, GNU Free Documentation License

Elderly people with osteoarthritis may find it difficult to deal with their condition. The pain caused by osteoarthritis can affect not just their movements but also their activities and their lifestyle. Depression, short-temperedness and unhappiness can also be brought about by the restriction of movements due to arthritis. See more osteoarthritis symptoms.

There are ways of coping with osteoarthritis for seniors. Aside from treating osteoarthritis to make the pain go away, there are a lot of other ways to cope with the disease, including the use of a home medical alarm. Family and friends may also help the elderly in dealing with their condition.

Medical Diagnosis & Treatment

If an individual is already experiencing the early symptoms of osteoarthritis, he or she should consult with a doctor to get the proper diagnosis and to determine what kind of treatment is needed. A diagnosed patient with arthritis should follow the treatment plan laid for him. It is important to follow the doctor’s advices and prescription to relieve osteoarthritis.

Get Joint Protection & Support

Aside from regular medication and consultation, it is also recommended for a patient with osteoarthritis to protect the affected joint. There are available supporters and items in stores that will help to keep the joints comfortable and help to alleviate arthritic pains.

Move A Little

Though it is suggested to keep the movement of the damaged joint minimal, it should also be kept in mind not to have a sedentary lifestyle. Physical movement is important to keep the other joints and body parts in proper condition. In addition, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to other illnesses such as heart problems and obesity, which can in turn exacerbate the effects of arthritis.

It must be noted that movement should not be too strenuous so as not to cause further complications. Check in with your doctor and get an idea what type of physical activity is appropriate. Sometimes, physical therapy with the guidance of a therapist may be recommended.

Healthy Diet & Supplements

It is also important to maintain a healthy diet and take multivitamin supplements to maintain a healthy body. For example, curcumin in tumeric and resveratrol in grapes and berries are said to have anti-inflammatory properties that could help alleviate arthritis. There are also some supplements that are made especially for people with osteoarthritis that may be taken. These include omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine.

Glucosamine, in particular, has been widely written up as an ideal supplement for arthritis sufferers. Besides anti-inflammatory properties, it is also said to help with the health of joint cartilage. Some studies have shown that it may slow down osteoarthritis, but results from clinical trials have not been conclusive.

Get Enough Rest

Getting enough rest is also necessary to balance the amount of movement. Getting rid of or avoiding stress will also benefit a person with osteoarthritis. Sometimes it is good to take a vacation or a day off to enjoy with friends and family. Doing breathing exercises and meditation may also relieve the pain and stress brought by osteoarthritis.

Have A Medical Alert System

Many seniors with arthritis have a medical alert system at home. With weaker joints, more limited mobility and the threat of sudden sharp joint pains that can throw them literally out of balance, they face higher risks of falling down. Having a medical alert system at home ensures that they can call for help quickly and easily.

As it is, coping with the pain and physical difficulties of arthritis can be a challenge by itself. Dealing with the added threat and fears of falling down and not receiving help in time brings added psychological pressure on a patient. For some elderly patients and their children or loved ones, having a medical alert system not only facilitates getting help in case of emergencies, it also brings greater peace of mind.

Have A Support Group

Family and friends can also help a person cope with osteoarthritis by providing moral support. They should understand the condition of a patient and the difficulties of osteoarthritis. They can also provide help in times of pain and difficulty in movement.

It may also do good to visit a counselor and express the fears and stress. There also support groups to talk to. This is also one way to vent out stress and cope with the pain brought by osteoarthritis.

Keep A Journal

It might also be helpful to keep a journal or pain diary. In this diary, an individual can write the symptoms that he or she experiences and other things that can be vital enough to keep record of. It can also be an instrument to vent out the pain and stress.

Workplace Adjustments

For seniors still working, adjustments in the workplace will also help a patient with osteoarthritis cope with his condition. A person with osteoarthritis should avoid strenuous physical work, so it will be better to shift to light duty work. Long hours of physically tedious work should be avoided. Even desk-bound jobs with lots of manual typing may need some adjustments, especially if the patient has arthritis in the hands. It can help to divide a large task into smaller tasks and rest in between those.

Lastly, it is best to be informed of everything about osteoarthritis. Having a positive outlook in life along a healthy lifestyle will also suffice in coping with osteoarthritis.

Related:

Arthritis In Seniors: A Basic Guide – A guide to the 3 main types of arthritis affecting seniors.

Arthritis Exercises For The Elderly

 

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