Arthritis Might Behind Many Seniors’ Pains Complaints

arthritic handsAlthough their pain may be caused by various reasons, please do not ignore the fact that arthritis might be the cause of your patient’s pain.

In fact, according to Everyday Health, arthritis is most likely the #1 condition people who are 65 and older suffer from. The Center for Disease Control notes that almost 50 percent of seniors suffer from arthritis so severely that is lowers their quality of life. Arthritis can affect the joints in most parts of the body, including the hands, feet, hips, and especially knees.

The types of arthritis seniors are most plagued with include: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout. If you notice your patients have lasting joint pain, joint swelling, joint stiffness, tenderness or pain when touching a joint, problems using or moving a joint normally, or warmth and redness in a joint, it is likely arthritis is the culprit.

So how can you help ease the symptoms of seniors suffering from arthritis?

  1. Make sure the patient is getting sufficient rest.
  2. Light exercise or stretching can help lessen symptoms of arthritis. The best exercises for seniors with arthritis, according to A Place for Mom, Inc., include: range-of-motion exercises, aerobic exercises, endurance exercises, and strengthening exercises. As a caregiver, it is important to remember that the less time a person with arthritis is moving, the more severe their symptoms will become.
  3. Eating a health, well-balanced diet is also key to help keep symptoms in check.
  4. If they need help walking due to their arthritis flare-ups, be sure they have a cane and/or proper walking shoes. According to com, the best footwear for seniors suffering from arthritis are shoes that are softly cushioned, offer adequate support, have a wider toe box, and can be adjusted when needed.
  5. Weight control can also help lessen arthritis symptoms. Excess weight puts more pressure on joints, which in turn causes more pain.
  6. Try applying heat or cold to the patient’s joints, but make sure to test which works best for your senior. Remember that while cold may work better for one patient, heat may work better for another. A heating pad is suggested for the patient before they even get out of bed in the morning, as most seniors who suffer from arthritis experience morning stiffness, usually eased by heat. Cold therapy is best for those with inflamed joints, as cold is a natural anti-inflammatory.
  7. Relaxation and/or meditation techniques may also prove helpful.

If you notice symptoms getting worse, or if your patient has a fever, or joint swelling, make sure they are seen by a doctor.

The professional staff at Nurses Guild has years of experience when it comes to helping our patients manage their arthritis.  If you feel you need help, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and see how we can help you and your senior.