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An elderly personal alarm with automatic fall detection can detect a fall and call for help without you needing to push the button. This is vital is you are unconscious or immobile following a sudden illness or a fall. The call will automatically go through to either your nominated contacts or a SureSafe operator, depending on which service you have chosen. You will be able to get the help you need fast, even if you are unable to press the button.

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Elderly Arthritis Care – Complete UK Help Guide

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms

If you or an elderly loved one have been diagnosed with arthritis, it can be hard to know what to do next or where to go for arthritis help.

Fortunately, treatments, lifestyle changes, and supports can be a great help with arthritis. Here, we’ve gathered a wealth of information about arthritis care, UK resources for elderly people with arthritis, and how to live well with arthritis.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis actually refers to a group of conditions that all cause joint pain. Often, this pain is accompanied by inflammation.

By far the most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which usually affects the elderly. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in joints thins and wears away. This makes movement painful.

Another common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the joints.

There are many other forms of arthritis too, including:

  • gout
  • psoriatic arthritis
  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • cervical spondylosis
  • juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Read more in our guide to the types of arthritis.

What does arthritis feel like?

Different types of arthritis have different symptoms. But typical arthritis symptoms in joints include:

  • pain
  • swelling
  • inflammation
  • warmth
  • tenderness
  • stiffness
  • weakness
  • difficulty using the joint.

Osteoarthritis sufferers often experience grinding or crackling in their joints. Joint stiffness for a long time in the morning can be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis. And both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can cause bumps on the hands and elbows.

See our elderly arthritis symptoms guide to explore the topic more. We also have specific guides on symptoms of arthritis in the wrist, hips, back, shoulders and ankles for seniors.

What should you do if you think you might have arthritis?

You should consult your doctor right away if you think you might have arthritis. This is because in arthritis care, earlier treatment can help prevent more damage to your joints.

Depending on the type of arthritis your doctor is considering, they will likely do a physical examination. They may also do x-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds or blood tests.

Take a look at our guides about how arthritis is diagnosed and tests for osteoarthritis to find out more.

What treatments for arthritis are available?

Arthritis can’t be cured. However, today’s arthritis care offers many treatments that help older people with arthritis in its various forms. Remember, always consult your physician before starting any arthritis treatment.

Simple steps and treatments

Doctors may advise lifestyle changes as a part of arthritis care. This can include losing weight to reduce stress on the joints or using tools to make your daily life activities gentler on your joints. For example, an electric can opener might help someone with arthritis in their hands. Alternatively, an older person with arthritis in the lower body might benefit from using a stick or cane.

Doctors might also prescribe physiotherapy or gentle exercise, depending on the type of arthritis. Hot or cold packs to ease pain and splints to support joints such as the wrists or ankles can be helpful too.

Elderly patients with gout, a form of arthritis, are typically advised to change their diet to reduce foods that are high in fat and sugar.

Home modifications such as grab bars in the bathroom can be helpful for seniors with arthritis in the lower body who are less steady on their feet. For these patients, it may also be wise to get a personal alarm with automatic fall detection for safety.

Lastly, doctors may also offer arthritis help in the form of home care and support.

Medications

Many beneficial medications are now available on the NHS for elderly arthritis care. UK physicians may prescribe pills, injections or creams, depending on the type of arthritis. Below we’ll look through some of the usual medications – but all of them should only be used if prescribed specifically by your doctor to you.

For many types of arthritis, doctors will suggest painkillers that also reduce inflammation such as ibuprofen. Doctors may also prescribe steroids to reduce inflammation. Osteoarthritis patients are also sometimes prescribed capsaicin cream to rub on the skin for pain relief. And for severe pain, opioids are sometimes prescribed.

A first treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is often disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs, or DMARDs. These are taken in pill form. They lessen the harmful effects of the immune system’s attacks on the joints.

If DMARDs aren’t successful for rheumatoid arthritis, doctors may prescribe injections of biological medicines. These work to stop the immune system’s attacks on the joints.

Other forms of arthritis that involve the immune system, such as psoriatic arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis, also are treated with DMARDs and biological medicines.

Surgery

Doctors usually try the above treatments before looking to surgery. However, joint replacements and other surgeries can help patients whose pain is severe even with medication.

Living with arthritis

There are many other steps you can take to live well as a senior while you have arthritis.

One is to take care of your general health. It’s always wise to eat a healthy, varied diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. Also, be sure to keep up with your seasonal flu vaccination.

Arthritis patients are generally advised not to give up exercise entirely, even if it’s painful. Talk to your GP to learn about types of gentle exercise that are appropriate for elderly people with your type of arthritis.

If you’re interested in connecting with other arthritis sufferers and learning more about what’s available for arthritis help, Versus Arthritis is a great resource with an online community to discuss arthritis care. UK support groups from Versus Arthritis also offer the opportunity to chat in person.

To learn more about what you can do for your wellness after an arthritis diagnosis, take a look at our guide on living with arthritis.

SureSafe and living well with arthritis

An arthritis diagnosis is often a starting point for a process of learning and making lifestyle changes. Knowledge and today’s effective arthritis treatments can help you and your loved ones to live well and slow the progress of arthritis.

Maintaining exercise and independence is essential in a healthful life with arthritis. People who have arthritis in the hips or knees may be worried about falling when they move. But an automatic fall detection alarm can help with arthritis related anxiety. This is because it can call for help without the need for any input from the user.

A mobile personal alarm with GPS tracking also allows you to walk around outside the home in the knowledge that you can still call for help any time.

SureSafe’s highly reviewed, simple and affordable personal alarms offer peace of mind and independence. To talk with us about how SureSafe alarms can keep arthritis patients safe 24/7, call our experts on 0800 112 3201. Alternatively, try using our live chat, or request a call back.

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