If you’re caring for a senior loved one with arthritis, it’s understandable to want to help him or her retain as much independence as possible, and you should start by helping your loved one get into the right frame of mind. Arthritis isn’t something that has to be accepted as part of the aging process. It’s a condition that can often be addressed with a combination of medication, therapy, regular activities, and the use of special assistive devices. Here are a few ways to promote your loved one’s independence while he or she is living with arthritis.
Plan Daily Activities
Planning daily activities, whether they involve taking a walk together or spending an afternoon at the mall, can help seniors get their minds off their condition while also building muscle and joint strength. Other activities that may help seniors with arthritis include:
- Swimming or spending time in a heated pool (helps with inflammation and joint pain)
- Performing supervised exercises (retains range of motion)
- Painting (often easier to do, since larger strokes or movements are involved)
Offer Help with Daily Chores
Many seniors don’t like being reminded of their limitations. When seniors with arthritis try to do too much, it can exacerbate their condition. For example, a senior with arthritis in the hands may not be able to wash and dry the dishes each night. Instead of letting your loved one perform daily tasks that lead to unnecessary pain, offer assistance whenever possible. You can also suggest modifications to his or her daily routine and allow your loved one to continue enjoying favorite hobbies and activities. For instance, if your loved one enjoys gardening, install a raised flower bed in the backyard so he or she can garden without having to bend over for hours.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality elderly home care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
Make Changes around the Home
Issues with gripping can be addressed by making small changes around your loved one’s home, such as changing traditional doorknobs to ones with larger handles. Additional modifications to consider include:
- Handrails in the bathroom
- Pull strings to open and close blinds/curtains
- Motion-activated lights (also prevent falling)
Use Special Devices
There are many devices on the market that can help seniors with arthritis retain their independence. For instance, shoe wedges can make it easier to get shoes on and off, and rubber jar grips can help seniors open jars without pain. Special fasteners like Velcro and zippers with larger pull-tabs can also be used in place of buttons.
If your loved one’s arthritis begins to severely impact his or her ability to perform simple daily activities, it may be time to consider getting help from a professional caregiver. Caregivers can be scheduled on a part-time basis and are highly trained in how to assist seniors while promoting as much independence as safely possible.
If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Sacramento seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
Encourage Your Parent to Follow These Simple Tips
The following are a few other quick tips that can promote safety and quality of life for your loved one with arthritis:
- Use a cane to prevent falls
- Work with a physical therapist
- Avoid heavy lifting
- Push rather than pull
- Lose weight (to reduce added pressure on joints)
- Take medications as directed
- Exercise for short periods
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional at-home care. Sacramento families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Call Home Care Assistance at (916) 706-0169 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.