Once thought to be an inevitable part of aging, arthritis is a complex condition that has many causes. If your elderly loved one has a family history of arthritis, he or she may not be able to completely prevent it. Here are some tips to reduce your loved one’s discomfort or prevent the condition for a longer time.
Control Blood Sugar Levels
Studies have found high blood sugar levels can lead to arthritis. When blood sugar levels get too high, they speed the formation of molecules that stiffen cartilage and increase its sensitivity to mechanical stress. Diabetes can also trigger inflammation that decreases the amount of cartilage in the body. Seniors who have diabetes can manage their blood sugar levels through exercise, a healthy diet, and medications prescribed by a doctor.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Extra body weight puts additional pressure and stress on weight-bearing joints, which include the knees and hips. For every pound a person gains, the body experiences four times the weight on the knees and six times the weight on the hips. Seniors who have gained weight can reduce their risk of arthritis by losing weight. If your loved one is already at a healthy weight, encourage him or her to maintain it.
Many doctors believe the best method for both prevention and treatment of arthritis is regular exercise. Exercising for 30 minutes five days a week can keep the joints limber, strengthen the muscles, and stabilize the hips and knees. If your loved one doesn’t currently exercise, encourage him or her to begin slowly before increasing his or her pace to prevent injuries from occurring.
A home caregiver can help your loved one exercise at home safely. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Richmond, VA, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
A balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits, fresh vegetables, healthy oils, and lean meats can help the joints work better. Including fish as part of a healthy diet is especially important for senior women. A study published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found women who ate fish regularly had a decreased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers believe the omega-3 fatty acids found in many types of fish can reduce inflammation in the cartilage and joints.
If your loved one needs help shopping for groceries and preparing healthy meals, consider hiring a home caregiver. Senior home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Address Other Health Factors
Almost any medical condition that affects the bones or ligaments can increase the risk of developing arthritis. Seniors who had careers that required repetitive movements such as typing should be tested for arthritis at least once a year. Taking proactive steps to ward off infections is another simple way to reduce the risk of developing arthritis and arthritis-like conditions. Those who injure their joints by slipping and falling also have a higher risk of developing arthritis, so help your loved one address any balance or mobility issues to avoid these types of injuries.
If you’re concerned about your loved one’s risk of developing arthritis, these lifestyle changes may prevent the condition, and having a professional caregiver in the home can make these changes easier. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. Richmond families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. If you need professional home care for your loved one, reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (804) 207-4746