Whilst it may be a challenging task to care for a loved one who is coping with arthritis, it could also prove to be a fulfilling one. Your family member may experience difficulties in managing various aspects of the disease, such as body stiffness and pain that hinders the ability to walk, lift their limbs and move around properly.
Your loved ones with arthritis need to receive care from a trusted individual that can make a positive difference in their lives, so that they may persist in being functionally independent for as long as possible.
Problems People with Arthritis Face
Arthritis comes in several different forms, like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and different people will experience different symptoms to varying degrees. A few traits of arthritis include:
- Joint stiffness
- Pain in the joints
- Functional mobility difficulties
- Decreased range of motion
- Reduced strength in muscles
Basic, daily tasks may become difficult for your loved ones to accomplish, especially if they require the use of their arms and legs. It is important to have a keen understanding of how the effect of arthritis hinders their daily functional mobility if you want to help your loved ones cope with their condition. Here are some tips on how you or your loved ones can cope with arthritis as we age.
Understand the Condition
Different forms of arthritis pose different challenges. For example, a person with rheumatoid arthritis that mainly affects their hands may require help with carrying heavy things or opening bottles. A person whose osteoarthritis affects their knee may require more assistance when walking.
Encourage Open Communication
Don’t be shy about talking with your loved ones about their condition. The more you understand each other, the better position you’ll be in to give care. Taking care of a person with arthritis can become emotionally taxing and talking about your feelings and difficulties can be a healing experience as well.
Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
A little exercise goes a long way in any lifestyle. Exercises such as yoga help to lubricate joints and build muscles, which is great for people suffering from arthritis and functional mobility issues. Just be sure to stick to a lighter regime and not overexert, as this may cause the pain to worsen. In addition, if your loved one has just undergone joint surgery, you can support them in their post-operative exercises.
A lot of people with arthritis would like to be as functionally independent as possible despite their disease. Whilst assisting your loved ones with mobility tasks is indeed important, remember to know when to step back and let them accomplish tasks on their own. This is good for boosting their self-confidence.
Manage Their Medications
If your loved ones are on medications for arthritis, it would be a good idea to help them manage their medication intake. This is especially so if your loved one is having trouble remembering the correct dosage, or having trouble handling the medications themselves.
It is important to be flexible with your care, as your loved ones may also be struggling to balance independence with the need for assistance. Another great option to assist them is to try physical therapy, where they will be guided by a trained therapist. A physical therapist can also teach strategies to better manage their condition.
Because arthritis has many ways of affecting those inflicted with the condition, it is crucial your loved ones get the proper support they need to cope with it.