Degenerative Arthritis: How Does It Really Affect Your Elderly Parent's Life?

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Degenerative Arthritis: How Does It Really Affect Your Elderly Parent's Life?

19 September 2016
 Categories: , Articles

If your elderly parent suffers from severe degenerative arthritis and can't do the things they used to do because of their condition, you may wonder how you can make life easier for them when you're not around to help out. Although arthritis is a common health problem for older adults, it can affect how people carry out their daily tasks, including cooking, bathing, and even brushing their hair. Without help, your elderly parent's physical health could decline even more. Here's more information about degenerative arthritis and what you can do to help your loved one overcome it.

How Bad Is Degenerative Arthritis?

If you don't have degenerative arthritis, or any type of joint condition, yourself, you may not understand how bad it can be for the people who do have it. Degenerative, or osteoarthritis, is just one of many joint conditions. It normally affects the joints and tissues of the hands, feet, fingers, and toes. Some people experience problems in their hips, knees, neck, and spine. Your loved one's condition can make life extremely difficult for them if it affects multiple body locations.

Degenerative joint conditions develop when the tissue, or cartilage, that protects or covers them wears away over time. Cartilage allows joints and bones to move against each without friction or pain. When cartilage wears down, your loved one's joints and bones no longer have this protection. Your elderly parent will experience a number of symptoms that range from mild irritation to severe pain and swelling that affect how they clean their home, perform daily tasks, and prepare meals. 

For instance, holding a pencil, stooping down to wipe a spill and performing other simple tasks can be tough and painful. If your loved one develops osteoarthritis in their neck and back, they may not have the ability to turn their head or bend their back to clean their home. Preparing, cooking and eating nutritious meals might become an issue with your elderly parent, especially if they have bad joints in their fingers, wrists and elbows. Manipulating cooking utensils, holding pans, and cutting food up may be uneasy tasks for them.

The home can become unsanitary from a lack of cleaning and build up with dust, dust mites, mold, and other contaminants known to cause allergies, lung infections, and other types of respiratory problems. If your loved one has a weakened immune system or already suffers from allergies, they may develop additional health problems when exposed to the contaminants listed above.

You can do a few things to make life better for your elderly parent and protect their home from problems.

What Can You Do to Improve Your Loved One's Life?

One of the things you can do is look into senior home care for your parent. Senior home care is a unique branch of elderly care that helps individuals with arthritis and other health complications live fuller and more productive lives. The care may involve many things, including meal preparation, housekeeping and medication assistance. Some in-home caregivers escort people to their doctors' appointments. If your elderly parent's condition requires multiple visits to the doctor, they might benefit from this service.

You may also do things to help out, including making grocery lists for the caregivers. Senior caregivers might place your loved one on a special diet to help them receive the nourishment they need to be healthier. The diet plan may or may not include your loved one's favorite foods or the things they appreciate most in life. If your loved one's doctor approves, home health workers can purchase the items during the shopping trips. 

Finally, keep your elderly parent's home sanitized and clean by installing equipment in the home that removes or filters dust and mold from the house. The equipment may include the use of air purifiers and special vacuums that remove contaminants from your family member's furniture and flooring. If possible, request that home healthcare visitors use, monitor, and check the equipment regularly to ensure that it works properly.

For more information and tips about helping your loved one live a better, healthier life, contact a senior care provider today.