Arthritis is the leading cause of disability among Americans over the age of 15, according to the Arthritis Foundation®. This condition is the cause of pain and distress for so many older adults. Family caregivers can help those people sufferering from arthritis in many ways, by knowing where to go for help.
Q. I am an 83-year-old widow who suffers from severe arthritis pain. I’m on several medications, but often they don’t work very well. On those days it’s difficult for me to function. Why is this worse some days, and do you have any suggestions to help?
Arthritis can be among the most debilitating of senior conditions, one that thousands of people struggle with daily. Long-lasting pain, such as that caused by arthritis, often isn’t as easy to relieve as the type of pain generated by an accident or injury.
According to the Arthritis Foundation® Pain Center, pain can be caused by several factors including the following:
- Inflammation, the process that causes the redness and swelling in joints;
- Damage to joint tissues, which results from the disease process or from stress, injury or pressure on the joints;
- Fatigue that results from the disease process, which can make pain seem worse and harder to handle;
- Depression or stress, which results from limited movement or no longer participating in enjoyable activities. This can create a cycle of pain, limited/lost ability, stress and depression that makes managing pain and arthritis seem more difficult.
The Arthritis Foundation® has identified several other factors that can make pain worse including an increase in the disease, stress, overdoing physical activity, focusing on the pain, fatigue and anxiety.
On the other hand, the Arthritis Foundation® has found a number of ways to help improve pain including positive attitude and pleasant thoughts, appropriate exercise, relaxation, medications, massage, distraction, topical pain relievers, heat and cold treatments, and humor. Consult your doctor to determine how some of these can be incorporated into your daily schedule.
Do you have companionship in your life? If not, this can increase your stress, particularly when it is more difficult to do the things you like to do.
So why not consider hiring a companion? CAREGiversSM from Home Instead Senior Care® can help around your house to alleviate some of the problems that you’re having dealing with your arthritis pain. CAREGivers, who are screened, trained, bonded and insured, also can help you manage your medications, take walks and focus your attention away from your pain and on more pleasant things in your life.