Osteoarthritis inevitably takes its toll on the daily lives of those affected as well as their family and friends. It can be extremely debilitating when it occurs at an age when the individual is already frail and coping with different illnesses. Various outside agencies should be called upon to provide domiciliary care which will allow the individual to stay in their own home. However, a move to a retirement home should be considered.
Moving around, shopping, hygiene routines and getting dressed - all of these actions can trigger pain which is tolerated to varying degree by usually elderly individuals diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Their range of motion is gradually reduced.
Furthermore, elderly individuals with osteoarthritis often experience pain at certain times of the day. This pain usually increases in intensity. Sitting down can prove painful and will often require a change of posture.
The quality of sleep experienced by osteoarthritic patients will also be affected as the pain is often intensified at night.
Nevertheless, domiciliary care is a viable option if the affected individual has support in carrying out household chores and on moving around, which becomes increasingly difficult on a daily basis. It is therefore advisable to contact your insurance company to find out whether support from a family member is covered in the case of osteoarthritis.
Unfortunately, for many elderly people suffering from osteoarthritis and living alone, this is not the case and every movement takes an immense toll on the individual. Care must be taken not to fall down the stairs or slip in the bathroom, both of which could result in the person being immobilised for hours on end or even worse. There appears to be a hazard around every corner, quite literally.
At this point, a move to appropriate accommodation for dependent elderly individuals in need of medical care should be considered given the significant problems associated with osteoarthritis.
Some practical advices
Know how to relax and take it easy. An elderly person with osteoarthritis must recognise their limitations. Indeed, embarking on a venture requiring physical exertion and considerable joint movement will only exacerbate the pain and the disability. This type of activity should therefore be avoided.
Before starting a sporting activity or exercise, it is important to assess the intensity of the activity in question and to protect your joints as much as possible to avoid injury. Remember to take several breaks and avoid straining your joints at all costs. Any exertion must be measured.
Know the correct posture and make sure you make the right moves. For instance, keep your head upright to protect your neck joints. Remember to stand up straight. Do not stoop but stand very straight to protect the joints in the spine, knees and hips.
Wear suitable footwear. Elderly individuals with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee should choose footwear that evenly distributes their body weight. This will relieve the pressure placed on the joints when walking. Orthopaedic shoes are recommended.
Take care when carrying heavy loads. Squatting with bent knees and standing up with your back as straight as possible will avoid pressure on the joints. This movement should be executed when bending down to pick up a light-weight object.
Change your position frequently and do not remain immobile for prolonged periods to avoid further repercussions from stiff joints.
Find out what support and aids are available to make your home safer. Elderly individuals should use walking sticks or walking frames to move around. This equipment is available to hire. An occupational therapist can help you to adapt your living space accordingly. You can contact your health insurance company to arrange for an occupational therapist to visit you at home.
All of these preventive measures combined with various treatments, medication and environmental facilities can help people cope more easily with osteoarthritis on a daily basis.
Housing options for elderly individuals with osteoarthritis
A move to a nursing home is strongly recommended if the individual cannot be supervised/supported and is no longer safe in their home environment because their condition requires constant care with third-party involvement.
Indeed, within a medical care facility offering around the clock monitoring, the elderly individual will receive specific treatment to alleviate the considerable pain they are suffering along with effective rehabilitation. The physiotherapist and occupational therapist available on site will support the osteoarthritic resident with their activities of daily living.
Residents will no longer feel isolated because of their disability and will be able to enjoy a social life and a number of appropriate activities. Surrounded by dedicated, competent staff and many like-minded pensioners, the elderly resident with osteoarthritis will nevertheless be able to thrive despite their disability.
Because this condition can become extremely debilitating, particularly in the case of advanced osteoarthritis in elderly vulnerable individuals, considerable assistance is often required on a daily basis. To summarise:
Moving around, hygiene routines, getting dressed and shopping, etc. can become major issues for any elderly individual presenting with severe arthritis. Additional pain accompanies every movement.
A move to a nursing home is inevitably the most appropriate option if the individual in question can no longer be supervised/supported in their own home environment because their condition requires constant care with third-party involvement.
Within a medical care facility offering around the clock monitoring, the elderly individual will receive specific treatment to alleviate the considerable pain they are suffering along with effective rehabilitation. The physiotherapist and occupational therapist available on site will support the osteoarthritic resident with their activities of daily living.
The lay-out of the premises is such that elderly residents can move around without too much effort. Lifestyle within the facility, meals and activities are adapted in line with all types of disability. An elderly individual who has become dependent because of osteoarthritis will not be cut off from the rest of society. On the contrary, they will be able to thrive within a warm and friendly environment, surrounded by dedicated, competent staff and like-minded residents of their own age.
There are many appropriately equipped facilities in England to cater for elderly people with osteoarthritis. Medical staff are trained to manage this type of disability and to provide essential comfort and wellbeing.
Do not hesitate to contact our elderly care advisors to help you find the most suitable nursing home for your loved one with osteoarthritis. Call Senior Home Plus on: 0203 608 0055.
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