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Managing Arthritis in Older Adults

Managing Arthritis in Older Adults

Frances Clinch on Jun 5th 2023

The Impact of Arthritis in Older Adults can be severe.

elderly-man-receiving-assistance-from-caregiver.pngArthritis can impair a person's ability to do fundamental everyday activities such as showering, dressing, and managing mobility.

Individuals with chronic arthritis frequently have difficulty getting out of chairs, getting into and out of bed, walking, and, in some cases, standing.

Pain has a considerable negative impact on daily living and is a common reason people seek physical therapy. Many persons with osteoarthritis report that the disease's pain, exhaustion, deformity, and movement limits cause social isolation, which can have an influence on relationships. 

Many of my patients complain of sleep problems, which contribute to poor focus and melancholy. Joint deformity caused by osteoarthritis frequently necessitates the use of a brace or devices such as a cane or walker, which can lead to a loss of self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as embarrassment in certain people.

Arthritis can also impede a person's ability to walk long distances or for the amount of time required to participate in activities such as travel, museum visits, and simply getting around in their town. Individuals with arthritis frequently feel unsteady and are more vulnerable to damage from incidents such as a fall.

Finally, osteoarthritis has been associated with higher rates of comorbidity, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Tips for Managing Osteoarthritis

Strategies you can use to manage osteoarthritis include:

  • Use a device to reach for objects, adaptive equipment designed to assist with opening cans, negotiating zippers, and fastening buttons, and padded and larger grip handles to protect joints in hands and arms.
    • Put appropriate supporting shoes on your hip, knee, and ankle joints, and utilise a cane or walker to get around.
    • When possible, avoid using stairs.
    • Avoid sitting for long periods of time (no more than one hour at a time).
    • To relieve stress on leg joints, use an armchair, an elevated toilet, or a shower chair.
    • Avoid stooping, bending, or kneeling repeatedly.
    • Pick up things from the floor with long-handled cleaning tools or a reacher.
    • To retain function, try to limit unpleasant movements as much as possible.
    • Wear your medical alert button at all times to get help.

Check out the infographic below by Be Independent Home Care which takes a further look into  managing arthritis in older adults.

infographic on managing arthritis among seniors and older people

About the Author: Frances Clinch is the Area Manager of Be Independent Home Care , a nurse-led home care company in Dublin, Ireland. She frequently writes online content covering a broad spectrum of matters relating to caregiving for older adults.