Caregiver Tips: Helping Your Loved One Manage Arthritis

Caregivers in Lansing MI

Caregivers in Lansing MIFor the over 50 million adults throughout the United States who have received a diagnosis of arthritis, the disease can have a major impact on their lives. If you are a family caregiver for an elderly parent who is dealing with one of the more than 100 types of arthritis, you can make a tremendous difference in her ongoing quality of life by helping her to understand that something can be done about the disease and its symptoms, and that she does not have to give up the lifestyle that she loves just because she had received such a diagnosis. While the symptoms might be challenging for her and she might have to adjust some of the ways that she handles specific tasks in her life, particularly as the condition progresses, there are many ways that you can help her to deal with the stiffness, pain, and decreased range of motion and mobility so that she can keep up with life and not have to give up her activities and adventures just because of the disease.

Some of the ways that you can help your aging loved one manage arthritis throughout the course of your caregiver journey with her include:

• Encourage her to lose weight. Carrying extra weight, even just a few extra pounds, puts undue stress and pressure on the joints, increasing the rate of progression of the disease and worsening the symptoms associated with it. Encourage your parent to lose weight and maintain a healthier weight so that her joints are protected and she can maintain a higher level of activity.

• Stay physically active. It is easy to think that if something hurts or is challenging you should not try to do it, and this is a trap that many people with arthritis fall into. They think that just because their joints are uncomfortable and that doing tasks such as walking or lifting items is painful or difficult that they should just not do it. This, however, is not the case and following through with this can make your parent's situation much worse. The joints need regular movement to stay healthy, strong, and flexible, meaning that your parent needs to get exercise on a daily basis. Though it might be uncomfortable at first, the more he moves around, the easier it will get. Of course, you do not want to encourage him to do things that are excessively painful, but he should also not allow his arthritis to become an excuse for inactivity.

• Thermal therapy. Many people with arthritis find that heat helps to soothe the pain and stiffness of the disease. Others, however, find that cold is what is most comforting. Experiment with your loved one using cold and hot compresses or warm baths to help to relieve the pain, stiffness, and inflammation so that he is more comfortable and can move around more easily and with greater confidence. Be sure that you are not using cold directly against his skin, and that you limit your application of heat to 15 or 20 minutes to prevent potential skin and tissue damage.


If you or an aging loved one are considering help for family caregivers in Lansing, MI, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors of Lansing. Call today: 517-332-9953.