Arthritis is a common ailment that the elderly face. If your loved one has arthritis, make sure that their caretaker is aware of the arthritis. This will help the caretaker manage it in a proper way.
There are various types of arthritis that elderly individuals may suffer from.
Common Forms of Arthritis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). RA is an autoimmune disease. This means that the person’s immune system responds to the joint lining as it would a disease or injury. The pain in this particular type of arthritis causes inflammation of the joint. This inflammation can last for hours. This means that your elderly loved one may not be able to walk or move due to the severity of the pain.
- Reactive Arthritis. This type of arthritis is generally caused by a reaction to something else going on in the body such as an infection. This type of arthritis may get associated with other forms of inflammation. Examples of this are conjunctivitis or urethritis.
- Gout. This is widely considered the most painful type of arthritis. Attacks are caused by crystals of uric acid that can build up in joint or tissue spaces. Diet has a large effect on the frequency of gout attacks. Gout most commonly affects the big toe but may affect other joints as well.
- Osteoarthritis. This is generally found in the elderly. This happens with the decomposition of cartilage that had previously protected the joint. This pain is caused by a large amount of movement but is generally not as severe as other forms of arthritis.
Though there is no cure for arthritis, your loved one can take steps to manage their arthritis. Nobody wants to live in chronic pain. With the help of others, your loved one can live a healthy and less painful life.
Some of the most common suggestions by doctors to lessen the pain of arthritis include:
- Keeping your loved one’s weight down. The heavier an individual is, the less pressure will be put on their joints.
- Exercise. That’s right, exercise! It will not only help your loved one with weight management, but will also strengthen the joints. Exercise can also increase mobility. Simple exercises such as walking and swimming can make a world for difference.
- Getting enough rest and eating a balanced diet. This will help the health of your loved one and enable them to get more energized.
- Take prescribed medications. These medications will help an elderly individual’s joints. Medication will reduce swelling and make it easier for them to be mobile.
- Heating/cooling the area. Heating can help to loosen the joints, and cooling can help reduce swelling in the area.
- Surgery. This is in extreme cases, and your loved one’s doctor may suggest it. This is a big commitment and should be discussed as such.
Nursing home staff members should be supervising all treatment that was suggested above. There are many good things that nursing home staff can assist your loved one with. But, there are several things they should not do when caring for a resident with arthritis. Some common examples include:
- Not allowing them to move. This can make arthritis much worse due to the stiffening of the joint. Additionally, this is probable to result in weight gain.
- Withholding any medications prescribed by doctors. This is considered abusive behavior and should get addressed immediately.
- Not encouraging the individual suffering from arthritis to get exercise or move around. Nursing home staff members should know that this will only make arthritis worse.
Though painful, arthritis is manageable with the right amount of care. Your loved one can continue to live a healthy and happy life when their arthritis is effectively managed.