Affecting millions of elderly adults across the United States, arthritis is one of the most common diseases around. Characterized by stiff and painful joints, arthritis is definitely a condition that most people are familiar with. If you are a family caregiver that looks after an aging relative with arthritis, you should learn everything you can about the condition so that you can help them manage it effectively.
Here are some frequently asked questions about arthritis in aging adults that can help you become more familiar about the disease and some of the most effective management strategies:
Q: What exactly is arthritis?
A: Arthritis describes more than 100 different joint-related conditions. Arthritis relates to stiffness, swelling, and pain in the joints, the cushioned areas where bones come together. Arthritis ranges from mild to severe and generally progresses over many years.
Q: What causes arthritis?
A: There is no known cause of arthritis, although there are many risk factors that may increase the likelihood that someone would develop it. Risk factors include age, obesity, genetic and family history, previous injury to bones and joints and bone abnormalities. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for arthritis.
Q: How does arthritis affect aging adults?
A: Arthritis usually starts out mild with light pain and swelling. It may affect an elderly person’s ability to do some basic tasks, such as open cans or write. As the disease progresses, aging adults may be limited physically in what they can do, such as clean the house, prepare meals, drive and get dressed. Many families hire senior care providers to help their relatives with arthritis accomplish daily tasks.
Q: How is arthritis treated?
A: Seniors should talk about a treatment plan with their doctor. They usually recommend anti-inflammatory medicine, pain relievers and any other drugs that may help with the symptoms. Lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and regular exercise can also help an elderly person’s body live with arthritis.
Q: What can seniors do to minimize the symptoms?
A: Seniors can maintain a proper weight and exercise. Experts agree that those are some of the best things that can be done to minimize the impact of arthritis. Massage, physical therapy, heat treatments and even acupuncture may also help elderly adults live better with arthritis.
Q: How can family caregivers help?
A: Managing arthritis isn’t easy and family caregivers can play a big part in minimizing the effects of arthritis in their elderly loved ones. Besides being on hand to help them with day to day tasks, family caregivers can ensure they have proper senior care providers in place when they are needed. Keeping up with regular doctor appointments is critical in keeping arthritis under control.
Q: Can seniors still have a good quality of life with arthritis?
A: Yes, aging adults can still live the kind of life they’ve always wanted with arthritis. Many people find the balance of senior care assistance, medicine, exercise, diet, and more to enjoy aging in their own home and doing what they want, despite their arthritis.