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Preventing Arthritis in Elderly

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While research shows that osteoarthritis is genetic, arthritis symptoms don’t typically appear without certain triggers. If you’re concerned that your elderly loved one may develop arthritis, promoting healthy habits may help him or her avoid those triggers. Read on for several lifestyle factors that Fort Myers senior care experts suggest can help your loved one delay or avoid arthritis.

1. Promote Weight Loss

As extra weight causes stress on your loved one’s body, being overweight can lead to arthritic joints. However, even small weight loss can help reduce bone and joint pressure that cause arthritis. To help jumpstart your loved one’s weight loss, encourage him or her to eat a healthy and varied diet, including a mixture of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and dairy products, while also limiting excess fats and sweets.

2. Encourage Exercise

Since being physically active can both promote weight loss and keep joints flexible, regular exercise is vital for arthritis prevention. Easy, low-impact exercises like walking are the best, most convenient ways for seniors to begin an exercise regimen. Before your loved one gets started, be sure he or she has comfortable, well-fitting walking shoes and a flat, paved area with minimal traffic. A family member or 24-hour caregiver in Fort Myers should also walk with your loved one to provide mobility assistance and help prevent falls.

3. Reduce Repetitive Joint Stress

Repeated joint movements, particularly in the hands and wrists, can lead to arthritis. Make sure that your senior loved one avoids excessive joint stress from activities like typing, using scissors or knives, sewing, and other repetitive hand motions. If your loved one does not want to give up these types of activities, encourage him or her to use ergonomic cushions and braces for his or her wrists and thumbs. You may also suggest frequent breaks and apply ice to the wrists and the thumbs to ease inflammation.

4. Help the Hips and Knees

Because the hips and knees are also vulnerable to arthritis, make sure your senior loved one wears supportive shoes whenever possible. Supportive footwear can help reduce joint impact when your loved one walks or goes up stairs and can diminish the stress that poor posture puts on the hips and knees. A good pair of sneakers can also offer better grip than other footwear, helping your loved one avoid slips and falls while in and out of the home.

If you’re concerned about your loved one’s risk of developing arthritis, helping him or her adopt these lifestyle changes can diminish his or her chances of the condition while also promoting his or her general health. At Home Care Assistance, we are dedicated to promoting senior wellness through helping our clients establish and follow healthy exercise and meal plans. Our revolutionary care approaches, including the Balanced Care Method, incorporate healthy diet, physical activity, cognitive engagement, socialization, and feelings of purpose to help foster long and healthy lives. If you would like to learn more about how our home care services can benefit your elderly loved one, give a Care Manager a call at 239.449.4701 and set up a free in-home consultation.