As a caregiver, it is difficult to see your loved one experience pain. Arthritis is a chronic disease that is characterized by the swelling and stiffness of joints, which causes pain and a limited range of motion. It devastates many areas of the body, and depending on the joints affected, it can impede one’s ability to walk or complete daily tasks. This condition is more common among seniors because their bodies have endured a lifetime of physical activity, which wears away cartilage. Symptoms of arthritis include joint stiffness, soreness, pain, a warming sensation, swelling, and redness in the skin. We’ve listed a few ways that you can make the life of someone with arthritis a little easier:
Encourage exercise that is low-impact. Light exercises can get the joints moving in a therapeutic way and even help reduce pain. Swimming is a great activity that will strengthen muscles without straining them too much. The water decreases the pressure that is put on sore joints. Yoga is a mindful and gentle way to move around, and practices can be adjusted based on the limitations of the senior. Finally, you can encourage your loved one to go for walks; make sure they have comfortable shoes that will support their feet. Exercising has the added benefit of promoting weight loss, which will lessen the strain on joints that bear body weight.
Offer to help with chores and shopping. The pain and limitations that come with arthritis make daily activities difficult. If you have the time, you can try to take care of some errands for your family member; this allows them to rest while they are in pain. Ask them for a list of items to purchase at the store. You can help with household chores that are challenging for someone who has trouble moving, like doing laundry or sweeping and mopping.
Make changes to their diet. Some foods are known to increase inflammation. Suggest to your family member that they alter their diet to reduce its impact on their condition. Foods that increase inflammation include meat cooked at a high temperature, sugar, alcohol, trans fats, MSG, and Omega-6 fatty acids. Encourage them to replace these foods with broccoli, beans, fish, and nuts.
Use hot and cold packs. When a specific area is causing your loved one trouble, try applying a hot or cold pack. Heat can reduce the discomfort of inflammation, and ice can bring down swelling. Place a towel between the temperature pack and the skin to help with sensitivity.
Provide devices that can assist them. If they have difficulty walking, offer them a cane or walker. Some adjustments can be made to bathtubs and toilets to make these tasks easier for those with limited mobility due to arthritis.
Consider home care. Arthritis can get worse as we age, which can limit the activities that your loved one can do for themselves. At this point, you may want to think about home care. An assistant can help your family member with things like dressing, bathing, and meal preparation. They can also do household chores and shop for them. Partners for Home has home care services in Winnipeg. When your loved one with arthritis needs help, we’ll be there for them.