May is Arthritis Awareness Month!
One in four Americans are affected by arthritis. Arthritis is a chronic disease that increases with age, making it important for the older adult population to be aware of and manage symptoms. It attacks the joints and surrounding connective tissue, causing pain, aching, and stiffness around the joint. This, in turn can diminish quality of life and hinder activities of daily living, affecting an older adult’s functional independence and contributing to disability.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage and prevent this chronic illness. Arthritis Awareness Month is aimed at giving individuals the tools to educate and help to manage arthritis, promoting independence of their own health and lifestyle. Here are some ways your loved one can prevent and treat arthritis:
- Adopt an anti-inflammatory diet. Many foods have anti-inflammatory properties that will help fight inflammation and therefore decrease symptoms of arthritis. Opt for a diet rich in nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and fish.
- Watch your weight. Excess weight can increase pressure on joints and exacerbate pain and swelling. Diet, exercise, medication, and surgery can help to maintain a healthy weight. Even small amounts of weight loss can improve symptoms.
- Exercise. Physical activity supports healthy joints and improves stability, helping to maintain activities of daily living. Swimming, yoga, walking, and resistance band workouts are all excellent moderate exercise options. Pick a form of exercise suitable for your needs and level of mobility.
- Utilize ergonomic tools. Incorporate ergonomic tools to make day-to-day activities easier. Try automatic jar openers, adjustable folding canes, touch-on table lamps, and ergonomic pens, chairs, and supports of all kinds.
- Consult your health care provider. Early diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment is especially important for inflammatory types of arthritis. Consult your doctor to see which treatment options are best for you.
As always, before employing any of these interventions, talk to your healthcare team.You’re more likely to live well with arthritis and increase functionality if you and your healthcare professionals make informed decisions together. They can keep you up to date on the latest medical advances, track your progress, and make sure you’re receiving the best treatment.
Happier at Home advocates for your loved one to maintain independence and increase quality of life while remaining at home. Our caregivers can help your loved one to live well with arthritis by monitoring and encouraging exercises, preparing a healthy anti-inflammatory meal, and to keep you safe inside your home.