Millions of seniors suffer from inflamed and sore joints, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Arthritis describes the chronic condition of inflamed, stiff, swollen and painful joints. It most frequently arises in the hands, hips, knees, feet and lower back. If your elderly parent is struggling with arthritis pain and depends on you for daily assistance, you can lead the way in helping them find relief.
As part of your elderly care duties for your aging relative, you need to support them in their efforts to stay healthy and live pain free. That’s why it’s so important for you to know as much as you can about arthritis when your elderly mom or dad receives that diagnosis from their doctor.
Here are 5 things that family caregivers can do to help their elderly parents deal with arthritis pain:
There are a number of medication options for seniors that can alleviate some or all of their arthritis pain. Doctors may recommend over the counter medicine for mild pain, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. There are a number of topical creams and ointments that may also provide some relief when applied directly to the skin.
For more serious pain management, the doctor can prescribe stronger drugs that can help. The corticosteroids may be injected into the joint or taken orally. The most common corticosteroids used to treat arthritis in seniors includes cortisone and prednisone.
Many seniors have found success in managing their arthritis pain by including certain supplements in addition to pain medicine. Top choices include chondroitin and glucosamine. It should be noted that studies on these supplements have yielded mixed results. There’s no denying that while some seniors respond well to supplements, others find little to no effect.
4. Activity and Exercise
Seniors with arthritis should be as active as they possibly can, doing low impact exercises like walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi or chair aerobics. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and massages can also boost blood flow to the affected joints. Exercise and activity also strengthen muscles supporting the joints, reducing pain and stiffness.
5. Heat and Cold
For consistent relief from arthritis pain, many seniors find that heat is ideal for easing sore and stiff joints. Heating pads, hot packs, paraffin wax treatments, warm baths and showers are all proven to ease the inflammation and swelling in arthritic joints. Cold packs are also ideal for reducing swelling associated with arthritis. Neither treatment should last longer than 20 minutes, and family caregivers should take care that the senior’s delicate skin is protected from getting too hot or too cold.
While there’s no cure for arthritis, a combination of treatments is usually fairly effective in managing pain levels and bringing flexibility and function to the affected areas. You should experiment with a combination of treatments to fine-tune your elderly care plan in dealing with an aging parent’s arthritis pain.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in LaVista, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.