Does your senior loved one experience more joint pain and stiffness as cold weather arrives?
Arthritis can cause seniors more than a little discomfort during winter months. Many older adults battle inflammation in their knees, hips, hands and other parts of the body. An aging parent may even claim they can predict when it will rain or snow based on a flare up.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, cold weather and arthritis pain go hand in hand. Changes in temperature and barometric pressure increase joint pain and swelling. Not only are these symptoms painful, but they may also hold your loved one back from fully enjoying their retirement years.
While there is no cure for arthritis, it is possible to help seniors ease arthritis pain even when it’s cold outside.
Here are things adult children and caregivers can do to make wintertime more enjoyable for seniors with arthritis and how to ease joint pain:
Caregiving Tips on How to Ease Joint Pain
1. Encourage indoor exercise.
Low impact fitness activities like swimming or Tai Chi increase blood flow and reduce stiffness which can help reduce arthritis pain in the Winter. Strength exercises keep arthritic joints flexible and protect seniors from falls.
2. Keep seniors warm.
Heat soothes aches, so make sure your loved one dresses warmly. This means heavy sweaters, gloves on hands, and added layers over knees and legs. A warm bath or heating pad can also help provide relief.
3. Pay attention to safety.
Arthritis places seniors at risk for falls and broken bones, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Make sure your loved one wears sturdy shoes and takes small, steady steps. If they use a cane, consider adding an ice grip attachment so that they can safely navigate on rainy, snowy, or icy days.
4. Add vitamins.
Encourage them to talk with their physician about vitamins. Supplementing with fish oil — which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation — may help manage arthritis symptoms. Winter is also a good time to add vitamin D to a senior’s health regimen. Being deficient might make joints hurt more.
5. Talk about weight loss.
Extra weight puts greater stress on joints. Shedding pounds is a smart health move for many reasons, but specifically, it can provide pain relief from arthritis symptoms. Harvard Medical School points out that losing just three pounds of weight reduces pressure on the knees three-fold. If dieting is on your loved one’s list of New Year’s resolutions, help them get back on track with their weight loss goals.
If your senior loved one is dealing with arthritis pain this winter, they don’t have to suffer. Caregivers can use these tips to help seniors find relief from discomfort, joint inflammation, and stiffness caused by arthritis. You’ll help your loved one be more comfortable, so that they can get back to enjoying retirement living.
And if you're searching for winter safety tips for your elderly loved one, Elmcroft has you covered.