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Living With Arthritis as an Elderly Person

Article by Daniel Westhead Daniel Westhead Sure Safe Alarms

If you're an elderly person living with arthritis, you know that the condition can make everyday tasks difficult. But there are many ways to manage your arthritis and improve your day-to-day life.

From eating foods that may help to reduce inflammation to using gadgets to help with day-to-day chores, there are a wide range of things that you can do to make life a little easier if you suffer with arthritis.

We explore some tips and advice for living with arthritis.

What diets help with arthritis?

There is no one-size-fits-all diet for elderly people with arthritis, but some foods may help ease inflammation and pain. These include omega-3 rich foods, such as fish, flaxseed, and olive oil. These can be particularly beneficial to those who have inflammatory arthritis types, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Other anti-inflammatory foods include tomatoes, turmeric, ginger, and green leafy vegetables. You may also want to limit or avoid foods that can trigger inflammation, such as processed foods, sugar, and saturated fats.

Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables contain natural chemicals called flavonoids. These have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Good sources of flavonoids include berries, kale, broccoli, onions, and green tea.

Of course, a further benefit of eating healthy foods is potential weight loss. If you are carrying extra pounds, this can put stress on the joints – especially if you suffer from arthritis in the knees or ankles. By making yourself a little lighter, you are putting less pressure on the joint which can help decrease pain and swelling.

Home modifications that help with elderly arthritis

There are a number of home modifications that can make it easier to live with arthritis. These include installing grab bars in the shower, using a raised toilet seat, and placing non-slip mats in the bath.

Consider which everyday parts of the home may cause you difficulties. In some cases, simple changes such as changing handles on kitchen drawers or wardrobes can make a significant difference to how easy it can be to undertake everyday tasks.

If you are struggling with getting around your home, you may want to consider more major adaptations such as installing a stairlift or raising power sockets to a higher level so that they are easier to access. Additionally, if your property is difficult to access, you may wish to consider installing a ramp to enable you to get in and out of home more easily.

In some cases, your local authority may be able to help with costs of adaptations, so it is worth looking on your local council website to find out if there is financial assistance available to you.

Falls and arthritis

Falls are a widespread problem for people with arthritis. This is because arthritis can weaken the muscles and bones, making it more difficult to maintain balance. There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of falling, such as:

  • Wearing shoes which both support you and are non-slip
  • Exercising regularly to improve balance and strength
  • Using assistive devices, such as canes or walkers
  • Making sure your home is safe and free of tripping hazards

If you do fall, try to avoid putting weight on the affected joint. You should also see your doctor as soon as possible, as falls can cause serious injuries in people with arthritis.

SureSafe offer a range of devices that can help you to quickly summon help should you fall. Many of our alarms even offer fall detection. This means that, should you fall and be unable to press the SOS button help can still be on the way, as the alarm will automatically contact either your nominated friends and family – or our 24/7 monitored response centre.

We have alarms which can work both inside and outside the home, so that you know, wherever you roam, you have peace of mind that you can quickly get help in the case of an emergency.

Assistive devices that help with arthritis

Depending on where you suffer with arthritis and the stage you are at, you may start to find some everyday tasks more difficult. This is where assistive devices can help helpful.

For example, if you have trouble walking, devices such as cane, crutches or walkers may help you to get around more easily and remove the fear that you might fall.

However, there are many other gadgets that can help you to feel more in control and stay independent. From sock aids to assist with getting your socks on if you have trouble bending your knees, to assistive can openers to help you in the kitchen, many gadgets and gizmos are available that can help you to go about ordinary tasks.

Smart speakers such as the Amazon Alexa can even help you to control elements of your home. From switching on light switches to closing curtains, you can use these devices to make life a little easier.

Hot and cold therapy for arthritis

Applying heat or cold to your joints can help relieve pain and inflammation. Heat can help to relax your muscles and also ease muscle spasm. You can use a heating pad, a warm towel, or a warm compress.

For cold therapy, you can use an ice pack, a frozen bag of vegetables, or a cool compress. Cold can reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain related to arthritis and activity.

Both types of therapy can help for different symptoms and many people will switch between both. For example, using heat to warm up a joint before undertaking stretches and then using cold therapy to reduce any swelling.

How to strengthen joints with arthritis

While it is important to avoid putting too much stress on your joints, it is also important to keep them strong. This can help reduce pain and prevent further damage. Some exercises that are safe for people with arthritis include swimming, range-of-motion exercises, and yoga.

Depending on where you suffer from arthritis, there may be specific activities you can undertake that can help to strengthen your joints. Take a look at these exercises that help with hand arthritis for example. Even just squeezing a stress ball can help to strengthen your hands.

It’s important that you don’t do high impact exercise such as running on pavement as this can make your symptoms worse, so always consult a specialist before starting a new fitness regime if you have arthritis.

Protecting your joints if you have arthritis

As well as making sure that exercise you undertake is suitable, there are some other things you can do avoid putting too much stress on your joints.

These include

  • Using joints which are stronger as levers. This means using for example your shoulders rather than your hands when opening a heavy door.
  • Distributing weight when carrying across joints. For example, using two hands to carry a heavy object.
  • Using grip assistants to avoid putting pressure on your hands when needed.
  • Taking breaks throughout the day to rest your joints
  • Wearing shoes that support you

Arthritis can be a debilitating condition, but there are things you can do to ease the pain and improve your quality of life. By following these tips, you can live a more comfortable life with arthritis.

At SureSafe we provide a range of personal alarms that can give you and your loved one’s complete peace of mind that, should you get into difficulties that help is on hand. Call SureSafe's team of experts 0800 112 3201 to discover the best options for you.

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