Everything Family Caregivers Should Know About Arthritis
Over 92 million people in the United States are believed to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. One out of every two men aged 65 or older has some form of arthritis. It’s not surprising to learn your dad is arthritic, but you may not know what this means for him and his daily life. Here’s what you need to know about arthritis in seniors, and how elder care can help.
The Most Common Forms of Arthritis
There are more than 100 forms of arthritis, but only a handful of them are more likely to impact your dad’s daily routine.
This is the most common type of arthritis. It occurs when the joints degrade through normal wear and tear as you get older. Common treatments are over-the-counter or prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and getting enough exercise. Sometimes, joint replacement surgery is necessary to ease chronic pain and loss of mobility.
While this form of arthritis is more common in women, it can affect men. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells in the joints and other parts of the body like the eyes and the heart. Medications to suppress the immune system are often prescribed, and exercise is essential.
More men are impacted by gout than women are. It’s a condition where uric acid crystals build up in the fluids in a joint, often the big toe, and cause debilitating pain and swelling. Diets that avoid red meat, shellfish, and alcoholic beverages are important. Medications that reduce the amount of uric acid also help.
There’s psoriasis and there is the autoimmune disease psoriatic arthritis that impacts the joints and causes pain and swelling. Upwards of 70% of psoriatic arthritis patients are diagnosed with psoriasis first. Treatments focus on reducing psoriasis flare-ups and joint pain and flare-ups.
What Family Caregivers Can Do To Help
Depending on the type of arthritis he has, your dad will have good and bad days. On the bad days, make sure he’s using medications as recommended. This may mean keeping track of doses for him. You might need to clean his home, do the laundry, and bring in the mail.
If he has mobility issues, help him walk up and down the stairs as needed. It may be better to move his bedroom to the main level of the home if possible. He might find it easier to have you run errands. He needs groceries but dreads the thought of walking aisles and pushing a cart, so you could do it for him or accompany him.
You may have a hard time helping him because you have to work. You can arrange to have caregivers with him during an arthritis flare-up. He’s supported, and you’re not having to take time off.
Don’t let arthritis flare-ups keep your dad from his usual routines. If he’s having a harder time with self-care and household chores, arrange elder care services to offer the support he needs. He can focus on himself and know his elder care aide is nearby if he’s struggling and wants a helping hand.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Edison, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care today. Call (732) 607-8870.
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