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How Osteoarthritis Affects Mobility in Older People

Movement is the key to good health and overall well-being, especially as we get older. Unfortunately, many older people face health challenges that affect their ability to stay mobile and live independently.

A significant health concern among older adults is osteoarthritis. As , it affects an estimated 4,000,000 Canadians or 1 in 7 adults. As our population ages, the condition’s prevalence is expected to increase dramatically.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects the bone, cartilage, ligaments, fat, and the tissues surrounding the joint. It’s typically found in the hands, knees, hips, lower back, and neck and can degrade cartilage and change the shape of the bone. Many people with this condition experience joint inflammation, stiffness, pain, and loss of mobility.

Although osteoarthritis is generally associated with aging, some people are diagnosed with it before the age of 45.

The pain and limited mobility caused by osteoarthritis can make everyday tasks a challenge, including the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs include bathing, dressing, grooming, preparing meals, and taking medication. Not keeping up with ADLs can affect the person’s mental and physical well-being.

There is currently no cure for osteoarthritis. However, there are ways to manage the condition and still enjoy a good quality of life. Doctors may prescribe medication or, in severe cases, perform surgery to help treat the symptoms. However, it’s usually up to the patient to practice self-care on a daily basis to minimize the toll osteoarthritis can take on their life.

Minimizing the symptoms of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can severely reduce mobility, independence, and the affected person’s health. Not correctly managing its symptoms can lead to other severe health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and stroke.

Here are some ways you can manage your osteoarthritis:

Eat nutritious food that promotes optimal health

Follow a nutritious meal plan to help promote weight control, as weight gain from not moving around can make your symptoms worse. Also, foods with high glucose levels can cause the cartilage to become stiffer and more likely to break down. If you need help putting together a healthy menu, ask your doctor, nutritionist, or in-home caregiver for recommendations. You will not only be helping manage your osteoarthritis symptoms but also improving your overall well-being.

Keep moving to increase strength and range of motion

Gentle exercise can help strengthen the muscles that support the joints and increase their range of motion. This can include gentle stretching, raising and lowering legs from a standing or seated position, daily walks, balance exercises, and more. Always listen to your body and stop if you begin to feel pain.

Take time to relax

Proper health management also includes taking opportunities to rest and practice mindfulness. Set aside time for fun activities with friends and visits with family, or take moments for yourself with a good book, music, or watching a favourite movie. Avoiding stress and taking opportunities to recharge are crucial to proper health management and optimal well-being.

Use assistive devices to help with movement

Assistive devices are designed to make moving around easier, conserve your energy, and keep you safe while staying mobile. For example, you can use a cane or walker to help you stand up and move around. Reaching devices can assist you when picking something up from the ground. Raised toilet seats and higher chairs will decrease stress on hip and knee joints when going to and from standing and sitting positions.

The Arthritis Society of Canada provides more resources on how to self-manage your osteoarthritis symptoms.

Can in-home care help with osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a debilitating disease that can dramatically impact your elderly loved one’s health, happiness, and quality of life. The good news is that families don’t have to embark on their osteoarthritis journey without the much-needed at-home support their elderly loved one needs to thrive.

Qualified in-home healthcare providers can help people with mobility issues handle everyday tasks, including housekeeping, meal prep and personal care. They will also provide support and encouragement in managing their osteoarthritis symptoms, delivered with a smile to bring joy into their lives.

Families also get peace of mind knowing their older relative is in good hands with a reliable eldercare professional by their side, helping them successfully retain their independence at home, which is exactly where they want to be.

Quality in-home elder care services in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton

Osteoarthritis severely impacts the life of your elderly loved one. It often requires in-home care services to help them retain independence and enjoy an optimal quality of life.

CareHop is always ready to provide professional in-home support that allows your loved one to live at home while receiving quality care. We specialize in professional nursing care, PSW services, and Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care. Our team also offers assistance with personal care, homemaking, and meal preparation that will enhance their happiness, health, and overall well-being.

Our goal is ensure your loved one receives quality care, allowing them to continue living happily at home in familiar surroundings.

If you have any questions about our specialized eldercare services, please
reach out to us anytime for a free, no-obligation discussion to discover how we can help

About the Author

Michael Lu is the founder of CareHop. He started the business inspired by his Grandmother to look at ageing as a happy experience to bring sunshine into the homes of others.

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