How do you help an elderly loved one who has arthritis? It is hard to answer that question unless you know how serious their arthritis is. They may have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or mild joint pain. There are hundreds of types of arthritis so it is impossible to give an answer across the board. Some arthritis can be a result of other illnesses and some arthritis is an immune system disorder.
The first way to help your elderly loved one deal with arthritis is to make sure they have a correct diagnosis and they are getting medication that is right for them and is helping them.
Another way you can help them is to make sure they get the correct diet as well as exercise and water. And it is really important that they do not put too much strain on their joints as they move around. For that, there are grab rails for elderly that provide them with the necessary support as they move around.
Many different forms of arthritis require different medications. They can include prednisone which is a corticosteroid, anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin and Aleve as well as narcotics such as Vicodin or Percocet. It is important your loved one understand the various medications that have been prescribed. It is important they understand interactions, overdoses, and side-effects. It is important they understand “more” doesn’t necessarily mean “better.”
Many of us are unaware that people we care about when they are enduring constant pain may become depressed. It is hard to suffer day in and day out and not feel down. The last thing they need is to feel forgotten.
Make sure they can contact you; make sure you see them often and make sure you include them in some activities. If your loved one happens to be in a nursing home consider this: In a conversation last year I was told by a person who was a manager in a nursing home that more deaths occurred during holidays with respect to people who were in pain and had no visitors. If a person goes into a deep depression we are talking about an entirely different illness. You can look at “preventing depression” as being one of the things you are trying to do for your loved one.
Finally, make sure your loved one is active and mobile. Certainly, it is important they are around people and take part in life’s events. It is just as important they can “get places”.
Whether it is a cane, a scooter, a specially equipped car, and imparted knowledge of bus schedules, or a regular agreement with you regarding taking them places, it is necessary they know they are not trapped in their home.
Helping your elderly loved one deal with arthritis means to simply care about how they will function day-to-day.