The fact that arthritis attacks joints in almost every part of your body means that dealing with the disease can be challenging even when you have support from an elderly home. Unfortunately, not many elderly homes out there with elders who have arthritis have the resources and skills to provide care for these patients.
In the event you or someone close to you has arthritis in Los Angeles, the best way to help them recover and stay comfortable is by getting them arthritis care services from a home caregiver like Mom’s Home Care. We will discuss with you more information about arthritis and the kind of services our caregivers can provide to give you an insight of what to expect.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is defined as the inflammation and tenderness of at least one joint of your body parts. The most common signs of the disease are painful and stiff joints. It’s worth noting that there are different types of arthritis, with each having different symptoms. With most forms of arthritis, the symptoms are chronic and might extend for years. Some of these symptoms like swelling, pain, or redness in the joints are visible and can be felt, which enables you to seek treatment before the joints are damaged. However, other forms of arthritis can have fewer or no symptoms, but they destroy your joints gradually.
The disease affects many adults in Los Angeles and the country as a whole, with half of this demographic being the elderly or adults 65 years or older. The common types of arthritis among older people include:
1. Osteoarthritis (OA)
OA is the most prevalent type of arthritis among senior citizens or older people. At the joints of a human body, there are tissues known as cartilages that cushion the end of the bones and allow virtually frictionless motion in a joint. When OA begins, this tissue tears and wears out, leaving bones in a joint to grind against each other. The disease is common in the neck, knees, lower back, hips, or other joints that support a large mass of your body.
You can tell if you or a loved one has this form of arthritis if they have painful or stiff joints that restrict movement. Keep in mind that these symptoms might take long to manifest because cartilages may take years to wear out. However, in particular, circumstances where you have a joint infection or injury, it will hasten wear and tear of the tissue, and symptoms will show immediately.
In some incidents, the joints might feel stiff when you stay without moving for a long time. The stiffness, however, goes away the moment you walk or touch the joint. OA can sometimes even cause disability if it affects your lower back, knees, or hips because these are the joints that carry almost all the weight of your body.
The main cause of OA is growing older. Apart from age being one of the significant risk factors, experts have also linked the diseases with being overweight and injuries.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
In the RA form of arthritis, the immune system invades healthy cells or the synovial membrane, which is the coating on your joint tissue by mistake, causing it to swell. If the disorder continues, it tears the cartilages exposing your bones to friction when you move, which causes pain and tenderness. RA is an autoimmune disease that causes swelling of the connective tissues causing a bulge, reddishness, and inflexibility that can go on for hours. When you are suffering from this disease, most of the time, you will be unwell because you will feel fatigued, experience fever, or difficulties sleeping.
The common parts of the body that the disease attacks include the knees, fingers, neck, wrists, shoulders, hips, and elbows. Note that when RA attacks one joint on one side of your body, the same joint on the other side of the body will be affected too. The disease can also spread to your heart, eyes, nervous system, and even muscles causing serious problems.
Gout is a type of arthritis that starts when uric acid crystals begin to form around your joints. These deposits of uric acid can cause redness, swelling, heat, or stiffness in your connective tissues leading to severe pain. The disease is associated with specific types of foods like shellfish, peas, gravy, liver, or beans. Alcohol consumption, being overweight, and the use of particular medications for diseases like blood pressure can increase the risk of gout.
The most common parts of your body where you are likely to get a gout attack is on your big toe, elbow, knees, other toes, or the hand. Swelling in the connective tissues makes the skin pull firmly on the joint, causing redness and tenderness.
Apart from these three types of arthritis that are common among the elderly, other types of arthritis include:
- Thumb arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Septic arthritis
- Reactive arthritis
Specific factors increase the risk of having arthritis. Some of these risk factors are:
- Family history – if your siblings or parents suffer from this disorder, chances are high that you will develop arthritis. What happens is that your genes make you more vulnerable to environmental elements that set off arthritis.
- Age – the possibility of developing various forms of arthritis, like gout, RA, or OA increases with age. It’s the reason many seniors in elderly homes suffer from this disorder.
- Sex – a large population of people suffering from RA is women, while men represent the highest number of people suffering from gout.
- Prior Connective Tissue Injuries – a person who has been injured around the joints, especially in sports has high chances of developing arthritis in the joint with the injury.
- Obesity – overweight persons or those with excess weight are at high risk of developing arthritis because the excess weight puts pressure on the knee, hip, or spine joints.
What Happens when you have Arthritis?
Arthritis usually attacks the joints, and most of the signs and symptoms of the disease will be manifested in the connective tissues. The symptoms you will experience depend on the form of arthritis you are suffering from. In general, when you have arthritis, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:
- Tenderness or pain when you touch the joint
- Decreased series of motion
- Redness or heat in the joints
As mentioned earlier, some of these symptoms might not be troublesome. However, elders with gout, OA, or RA are likely to experience a lot of pain, especially in the arms or hands, preventing them from performing regular routines like bathing or eating. If the symptoms attack the lower back or the connective tissues support the significant weight of the body, you might lose mobility completely. As such, you will need arthritic care services from Mom’s Home Care. Our caregivers are trained on how to handle patients with arthritis and make them comfortable regardless of the challenges that accompany the disease.
What Are Forms of Care Offered to Arthritis Patients?
At Mom’s Home Care, we handle every arthritis case differently, although standard treatment options are available. With proper rest, healthy meals, and learning how to protect your joints, you can fight this disease. If you experience pain while walking, wearing the right shoes and learning to use a walking cane can help you prevent strain on the knees, feet, or hips when walking. The advancement in technology has also helped these patients a lot because gadgets are available that can be used to avoid movement that results in pain.
If you hire us to care for you or your elderly parents, there are techniques our caregivers and health experts can use to ensure your patient recovers and lives comfortably.
Along with ensuring the elder suffering from arthritis takes the prescribed medication and gets enough rest, our caregivers can use physical activity or exercise to strengthen muscles and keep fit. Physical activity has proven to be the best way to manage arthritis symptoms. We focus on ensuring that senior citizens with arthritis engage in physical activity daily.
Note that while this disease is associated with a lot of pain in the joints which hampers your ability to exercise, physical activity can help ease or prevent the pain even before it occurs. Our arthritis caregivers have the training on the kind of exercise that is safe for the elder they are caring for. They are always there to help with the exercise, which means there is no time you won’t engage in physical activity.
Also, we make use of walkers and canes to help seniors with mobility problems. Because some might not know how to use these devices, our caregivers have the skills to offer detailed training on how to use these mobility aids to move around or engage in physical exercise.
For those whose conditions are not severe, we have walking or swimming sessions that help keep the joints in motion, alleviate the pain, and strengthen muscles. Some of the exercises you should expect to engage in based on your condition include:
1. Endurance Exercise
With our arthritis care services, we will encourage you to run, ride a bicycle or engage in other aerobics to decrease joint inflammation, prevent weight gain, and improve the health of your heart and the overall working of the body.
2. Strengthening Exercise
Mom’s Health Care also has caregivers who are weight trainers. These experts will help seniors with muscle building because strong muscles support and protect the connective tissues, thus preventing arthritis or its symptoms.
3. Range of Motion Exercise
A common symptom with arthritis patients is joint stiffness. We help alleviate this problem through dancing and yoga sessions. Doing so increases joint movement and flexibility, which is essential in recovery.
Apart from exercise, warm water is also a common technique our caregivers use to ease the pain, reduce tension, and ease muscles. For the duration we have been caring for seniors, we have learned that warm water around the joints that have an attack can help increase blood flow to the connective tissues and muscles, causing relaxation. This means that whenever you feel or see symptoms of an arthritis attack, the symptoms will be taken care of quickly. At times we even take seniors to a pool of warm water where a combination of the water and exercise eases the pain and helps with muscle relaxation.
As part of our services, we provide daily tools because we understand elders with arthritis can have problems performing regular routines. Some of the tools that help prevent or ease the symptoms include reaching extenders, which prevent stretching of any kind. Also, because many arthritis patients can’t open jars, we have electric jar openers, which can aid in this task. For those with problems holding objects, we have zipper pulls.
While the meals provided by most elderly homes are healthy, they might not provide you with food that can help prevent joint swelling. However, with our care services, we will ensure you stick on foods with healthy fats, lean proteins, vitamins, and omega-3. Whole grains and vegetables can also prevent arthritis symptoms but not cure the disease. Eating these foods often helps keep seniors free of arthritis symptoms.
How Long does it take to Recover from Arthritis?
As mentioned earlier, seniors are at high risk of suffering gout, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. RA is an autoimmune disease, which means it has no cure. Gout also has no treatment and the medication prescribed only helps prevent or ease the symptoms. Patients with OA also rely on drugs to relieve the pain, and the only way to cure the disorder is through surgery to replace the damaged joint. This means that you might have the disease for a long time, and the best way to prevent an attack is by medication and proper health management strategies. Mom’s Home Care is here to help you fight the symptoms of the disorder by ensuring our arthritis care services incorporate a balanced diet, regular exercise, and proper use of medication for a healthy and comfortable life.
Find an Arthritis and Elderly Home Care Service Near Me
If you or a family member is a senior citizen living with arthritis in a Los Angeles elderly home, you probably feel the world is turned upside down. Elderly homes might not be adequately equipped to handle all your needs. This is why Mom’s Home Care is open to provide the support you need to live a healthy senior life. Call us today at 323-244-4789 to arrange arthritis care for yourself, friend, or family member.