Though fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed by age 45, it is not uncommon for people in their senior years to develop it. The elderly often experience unique symptoms of fibromyalgia, which can include fatigue, soft tissue swelling, and depression. Though the condition is not preventable, there are ways your elderly loved one can treat and manage it. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care Fort Myers families trust, discusses some of these options.
Because there is no cure for fibromyalgia, most treatment plans begin with some basic lifestyle changes. This may include an overhaul of your loved one’s diet to reduce his or her risk of triggering a flare-up. Caffeine, alcohol, MSG, and processed foods should all be kept to a minimum, and some seniors also have flare-ups if they consume too much sugar or yeast in a short period.
One of the most common side effects of fibromyalgia is chronic fatigue. Many seniors with this condition find it difficult to get out of the bed in the morning or socialize with family and friends. Getting moderate exercise is one of the most effective ways to combat fatigue while boosting overall health. Older adults should focus on low-impact exercises such as yoga, water aerobics, and brisk walks.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a form of psychotherapy in which a senior speaks with a counselor or certified therapist. This type of therapy can be especially effective if your loved one is experiencing depression or a lack of motivation due to fibromyalgia. Stress is another common trigger that can lead to severe flare-ups, and a counselor can help your loved one manage that as well.
In some cases, lifestyle changes may not be enough to treat fibromyalgia. Many seniors also need medication to help them manage side effects such as insomnia, depression, muscle soreness, irritable bowel syndrome, and general discomfort. This often begins with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and low doses of acetaminophen. If your loved one does not respond to smaller doses, his or her doctor might prescribe painkillers or muscle relaxants such as tramadol. Your loved one should exercise caution when taking prescription medication because many of these products can be addictive.
If your loved one needs help managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our experienced caregivers can assist with exercise, prepare nutritious meals, provide timely medication reminders, and help with many other daily tasks. We also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and dementia home care Fort Myers seniors can count on. For more information on our elderly care services, call 239.449.4701 today to request a free consultation.