If you suspect or have already confirmed that your elderly parent has arthritis, chances are that you are wondering if home care could help, or maybe its time you had him or her institutionalized. After all, even the simplest of tasks, such as turning a door knob can be severely painful or totally impossible for someone with arthritis.
According to Michele Ellis-Williams, Home Care Agency owner and Home Care Coach, arthritis is a condition that destroys the joints and can make normal daily activities impossible.
“When a senior citizen has arthritis, simple activities, such as holding a spoon, walking, or bending can cause excruciating pain. But with home care, these citizens can continue to live in the safety and comfort of their own homes. There’s no need for institutionalization unless advised otherwise by a doctor” says the Home Care Coach.
“Arthritis in seniors not only results in serious pain, but it can also cause depression, sleep disturbances, and other psychological disorders, not forgetting a sizeable increase in health care costs,” continues the Coach.
Common Types of Arthritis
There are various types of arthritis, but according to Coach Michele, Osteoarthritis is the most common type among the elderly.
“Osteoarthritis in the elderly occurs when the tissue that pads or cushions the bones in a joint begins to wear away. This tissue is called cartilage and when it’s healthy, it prevents the bones from rubbing together. It is when bones rub together that the victim experiences pain and swelling, and sometimes, loss of motion,” explains the Coach.
“Rheumatoid arthritis can be described as an autoimmune disease whereby the immune system attacks the joints, thus causing pain, inflammation, and eventually, joint damage and malformation.”
“This type of arthritis can affect individuals of any age and gender, but it is most common in women,” continues Coach Michele.
“Gout is yet another type of arthritis which occurs when crystallization of uric acid happens in the joints. This happens to be the most painful type of arthritis; it usually affects the big toes, but can affect the knees, elbows, wrist, hands, and ankles as well.” explains the Coach.
Signs of Arthritis:
According to Coach Michele, symptoms to look out for include:
- Joint stiffness
- Joint inflammation
- Chronic pain or joint tenderness
- Redness and warmth in a joint
- Difficulty moving a joint
If your elderly parent has any of the above symptoms, make sure he or she sees a health care provider as soon as possible.
“Diagnosis may involve physical exams, x-rays, or lab tests. Treatment usually focuses on improving joint function and relieving the symptoms,” explains the Coach.
Home Care for Arthritis
According to Coach Michele, home care services, sometimes referred to as senior home health care services, can help make life easier for individuals living with arthritis.
“A home care team consisting of an in-home care aide or caregiver, a physical therapist, a registered nurse, and a social worker will come together to help the individual to reach his or her highest physical potential,” explains Coach Michele.
“The process begins with a registered nurse conducting an initial assessment of the individual after which a plan of care is devised for the caregiver and other team members to stick to. The registered nurse makes periodic visits to the client’s home to evaluate his or her health, monitor medications, and refill pill boxes. He or she may also collect any blood specimens required by the client’s doctor,” continues the Coach.
“The role of the caregiver is to spend time with the client and to assist with personal care tasks, such as bathing and dressing. He or she may also cook, shop for groceries, perform light housekeeping duties, remind the client to take medication, and escort him or her to doctor’s appointments.”
“That way, senior citizens and other individuals with arthritis are able to remain at home while receiving treatment and the care and support they need to deal with their health conditions,” concludes the Coach.