Arthritis is a common health concern among seniors, regularly causing joint stiffness and discomfort. However, if your elderly loved one has arthritis, there are steps you can take to help relieve his or her symptoms. At Home Care Assistance, our Westfield senior care experts suggest the following five strategies to manage senior arthritis symptoms.
1. Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Inflammation is one of the primary causes of joint pain in seniors with arthritis, so including anti-inflammatory foods in your loved one’s diet can be a good way to reduce his or her discomfort. Recent research shows that fresh ginger, cloves, and rosemary, as well as foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, can reduce inflammation in seniors with arthritis. For a hearty meal that can reduce arthritis pain, try baking salmon with olive oil and rosemary, or, if your loved one doesn’t enjoy fish, have him or her take fish oil supplements regularly.
2. Warm Compresses
Using warm, moist compresses on arthritic joints can significantly reduce stiffness and relax tense muscles. While a warm heating pad or compress can feel nice and relaxing, avoid leaving these heat devices on your loved one’s joints for extended periods of time. To achieve the best effect, have your loved one recline on a bed or in an armchair and place the compress on the affected joint for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes. Then remove the compress for twenty minutes and repeat as necessary to reduce stiffness.
3. Cold Packs
While warmth reduces stiffness in joints, warm compresses do not always diminish joint pain. For acute pain in your loved one’s joints, apply cold packs to the affected areas. If the cold packs feel uncomfortable placed directly against the skin, put a washcloth or thin towel in between the cold pack and the skin. Since the cold reduces inflammation and numbs pain, leaving the cold pack on arthritic joints for fifteen to twenty minutes and removing it for a similar period of time can help diminish your loved one’s discomfort.
4. Arthritis Exercises
Some basic joint exercises can diminish the discomfort that arthritis causes. Because arthritic joints are very stiff, some seniors find moving those joints difficult. However, exercising stiff areas can actually help reduce pain and promote flexibility. While there may be some initial soreness when your loved one begins an arthritis exercise routine, this discomfort will fade if the exercises are performed daily. To get started, have a family member or a Westfield hourly caregiver assist your loved one with basic stretches, like hamstring extensions, hip flexor stretches, and shoulder rotations.
5. Regular Massages
Gentle massages can do wonders for relieving arthritis symptoms, so you may consider scheduling regular massages for your loved one. Some spas offer Swedish and deep tissue massages, which target sore muscles and can relieve some joint paint. While daily massages are especially helpful, even weekly or monthly massages can significantly reduce senior joint discomfort, while also promoting relaxation and diminishing feelings of stress and anxiety.
At Home Care Assistance, we understand that chronic conditions like arthritis can make daily activities difficult or uncomfortable. If your loved one finds that arthritis or other physical conditions make routine tasks challenging, consider our in-home senior care services. Our experienced hourly and 24-hour caregivers in Westfield are expertly trained to provide assistance with a variety of tasks, including personal care, navigating the home, cooking, cleaning, and transportation. Give a friendly Care Manager a call at 908.450.9400 and schedule your free in-home consultation to learn more.