Although there is a treatment for osteoarthritis, there is no cure.
If your older family member has been diagnosed with this form of arthritis, they will have it for the rest of their lives. That means that in addition to following the doctor’s advice, they may also have to try other things to help reduce pain and manage symptoms to improve their quality of life. Below are 5 tips to help seniors who are living with osteoarthritis.
#1: Change the Way They Get In and Out of the Car
Getting in and out of a car can be painful for someone who is affected by osteoarthritis. Normally, getting into the care requires standing on one leg, stepping into the car, and sliding in sideways. As easy as that is for a healthy adult, it’s not so easy for a senior with arthritis pain. Instead of getting in in the usual fashion, have the older adult back into the car’s seat while standing on both feet, then sitting down. Once they are seated, they can swing their legs in. Reverse the process to get out.
#2: Stay Physically Active
Although exercising may sound like it would cause more pain, it’s actually beneficial for reducing osteoarthritis pain. It helps to build muscle that supports the joints. It also helps to reach and stay at a healthy weight, which decreases the stress placed on joints.
#3: Reduce Strain on Arthritic Fingers
Arthritis can make it hard to push buttons, like those on the microwave. To reduce the strain, place a rubber stopper on the end of a dowel. The senior can use it to push buttons on the microwave and elsewhere. Using a stylus can also make using a smartphone or tablet more comfortable. The stylus can also be used to push buttons on the television remote.
#4: Use Heat and Cold to Relieve Pain
Heat and cold can help to reduce pain. Heat soothes away the pain and relaxes tense muscles. A warm bath or shower can help. When that’s not an option, try a heating pad or heated rice bag. Cold numbs the pain. Place a cold pack on the joint for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, then take a break. Never place the cold pack directly on bare skin as it can damage the skin. Wrap it in a towel before applying it.
#5: Use Home Care
Home care is an excellent way to provide your older family members with the help they need to take the stress off joints and reduce pain. A home care provider can take over many of the tasks that can lead to increased pain, such as cleaning the house, which involves a lot of bending and stretching. Home care providers can also walk with the older adult to help keep them more mobile while also offering them support to prevent a fall that may occur because of pain in the knees, hips, or feet.