Arthritis Care Tips

Arthritis can be a debilitating disease, but with the proper care, the elderly who suffer from this problem can live a much higher quality of life. It is crucial that caregivers understand the needs and problems that face those with arthritis. By educating themselves, those who care for a loved one with this condition can make significant changes in the health of their elderly loved ones.

The first step is to clearly understand what arthritis, and the accompanying joint pain, really are. Arthritis and joint pain are difficult conditions to live with, making it difficult to complete even everyday tasks. Hands, knees, or shoulders often get sore and become hard to move. They may even become swollen. This is caused by inflammation of the tissue lining the joints (places where two bones meet). Over time, in some types of arthritis, the joints involved can become severely and seriously damaged. There are a large number of people affected with this problem. Studies show that more then 40 million people in the United States suffer from arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form, which is known to affect more than 20 million people.

This problem is most common in the aging population. Studies show that half of all people age 65 and older have some form of arthritis. While the pain is a serious and difficult part of this disease, medical personnel also report that the older the patient, the more likely they are to experience severe stiffness in the affected joints. The doctors most likely to treat arthritis are called Rheumatologist. Treatment options include but are not limited to:
  • Acetaminophen and pain relievers
  • COX-2 inhibitors
  • Corticosteroids
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (known as DMARDs)
  • Topical creams
It is important to understand that although there is no cure for most forms of arthritis, various therapies can help patients manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. Caregivers need to keep in mind that the choice of treatment depends on the type of arthritis, the severity of symptoms, the patient's general health, and age. In addition to any medications that are prescribed, these treatments might help ease your loved one's pain.

Hot and cold therapy - This is also known as thermal therapy. This process tends to give some temporary relief of pain from arthritis. Caregivers can offer warm towels, hot packs, or a warm bath or shower. If this does not work, cold packs can also relieve pain or numb the sore area. At they offer a wide variety of thermal therapy options for the treatment of arthritis. They can be viewed at: 

Exercise - This has been found to be one of the best treatments for arthritis. It can also improve mood and outlook, decrease pain, and increase flexibility. It is important to keep in mind that the amount and form of exercise will depend on which joints are involved, how stable the joints are, whether or not the joint is swollen, and whether a joint replacement has already been done. It is recommended that you consult the doctor or physical therapist that is treating the elderly patient as to what exercises are best for your loved one. If mobility becomes a problem there are aids that can help. Check out for mobility help options. 

Diet - Studies have shown that for elderly patients with arthritis it is especially crucial to maintain a diet high in nutrients. Pain medication can make eating difficult for some patients. In order to prevent malnutrition supplements can be obtained at that will help your elderly loved one with arthritis maintain a healthy diet. In addition, it has been shown that there may be some benefit for patients to take glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. 

About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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