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June 15, 2021

Coping with Arthritis as You Age


One of the biggest misconceptions about arthritis is that it is an old person’s disease due to aging.  This is not true.  If it were, arthritis would be inevitable.  Although, what is true is that as we age our chances of developing arthritis does increase.  So how do you cope with arthritis as you age once you are diagnosed with it?

Arthritis is very common but is not a single disease.  It is referred to as joint pain and joint disease.  It is the leading cause of disability in America.  There are more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children who have some type of arthritis.  What is shocking is that there are more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions.  People who are diagnosed with arthritis feel scared and are unsure of what to do next.  YOU are not alone.

Like any other illness, anyone who has received a diagnosis will have good days and bad.  But with a chronic illness like arthritis, to say that you are having a bad day would be an understatement.  You will need to learn healthy ways to deal with those bad days, especially since physical pain can lead to depression and anxiety.  This can turn one bad day into multiple bad days.  What to do?

  • Medication. Taking medication as prescribed will help relieve inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. 
  • Plan for a bad day.  If you have a plan in place, you will feel more in control when you are having a bad day.
  • Find a therapist.  A therapist can be instrumental in helping you to manage all the different feeling you will go through that may continue to surface from time to time.
  • Involve family and friends for support.  Do not be afraid to ask for help so that the people in your life can understand the illness as well as you do.  
  • Seek an in-home service.  In-home service caregivers can offer the extra support needed for aging seniors.
  • Reexamine bad days.  Learning how to view negative days can help you deal with them better.  Focus on how strong you are for handling your illness and everything that comes with it. 
  • Try new things.  Be open to new experiences that can help you manage a bad day better, such as painting or music.  Do not worry about being good at it, just focus on enjoying yourself.
  • Meditation.  This has proven pain relief benefits, and sometimes can be the best way to get out of spiraling negative thoughts.  

As we age, our bones become less dense and more fragile.  The water in cartilage changes becoming less therefore lessening the ability to cushion and absorb shock.  This is when arthritis can develop.  But arthritis is also dependent on family history, the level of physical activity, and history of injuries.  Because of the changes that occur to the musculoskeletal system as we age, joints may become inflamed and painful.  Knowing the way pain shows up in your joints can help you to know how to cope with your arthritis.  Learning the symptoms and risk factors can benefit your overall health treatment.  Since there are so many different types of arthritis, some of the symptoms may vary slightly but the most common ones you may experience are as listed below.

  • Joint pain.
  • Stiffness after waking up.
  • Lack of joint movement.
  • Tenderness to the touch.
  • Bone spurs.

Here are a few risk factors that can increase the chances of you developing the disease.

  • Age – There are some types of arthritis that become more apparent in older adults such as osteoarthritis, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Excessive weight – Having extra weight and stress on the joints can increase your chances of developing arthritis.
  • Gender – Some types of arthritis are more common in men or women.   
  • Joint injuries – A previous joint injury is more likely to develop Osteoarthritis.  
  • Genetics – Some types of arthritis are inherited which would put you at a higher risk.

Taking care of yourself by eating healthy, getting adequate sleep, being active, and staying aware from sugary drinks can minimize your chances of getting arthritis.  But if you are diagnosed with arthritis, your life does change in many ways.  That is why having an in-home care service available near you to assist with your health care plan would be beneficial.  Home Instead is a qualified in-home service located in the Lafayette, LA area. They can be reached at 337-296-7990 for any questions or concerns about arthritis or any other illness you may be facing.  Their skilled caregivers and CNA’s are ready to help you deal with common activities of daily living. Learn more about the services they provide that help people live well wherever they call home for years to come.