There are currently more than 54 million people throughout the United States who have received a doctor diagnosis of arthritis. Experts estimate that by the year 2040, there will be more than 70 million people in the country with this disease. If you are a family caregiver for an elderly adult who is living with with disease, it is important for you to integrate managing their arthritis into your care efforts for them. This includes helping them cope with the pain, reduce the impact of diminished range of motion, and combat fatigue. One of the most effective ways they can accomplish these goals is by staying active. While it seems that being active might worsen pain and increase fatigue, regular physical activity is actually one of the most effective means of reducing pain, strengthening joints, increasing mobility, and maintaining higher energy levels. In order for them to be as effective and beneficial as possible, however, it is important to choose exercises that are safe for your parent.
Some exercises that can help a senior with arthritis stay active include:
- Range of motion. Continuously encouraging their joints to use the full range of motion helps to keep the joint moving, strengthens and conditions the joint, and helps to reduce pain. Encourage your parent to perform exercises such as rolling their shoulders forward and back, performing arm circles, rolling their neck, and making circles with their leg.
- Strengthening. The joints are not independent parts of your body. Instead, they are supported by the muscles. If these muscles are weak, the joints experience greater strain and are more likely to experience an injury. Encourage your parent to perform strengthening exercises such as light weight training and resistance exercises.
- Aerobic exercises. This type of exercise benefits cardiovascular health, burns fat and calories, and improves overall health. Seniors with arthritis need to choose aerobic exercises that are gentle on the joints and do not require extensive range of motion. This can include walking, dancing, and swimming.
Helping your aging parent stay physically active is just one of the many ways home care can be beneficial for your senior. In your role as their family caregiver, you know how important it is for your senior to get enough physical activity on a regular basis. This can be challenging for you to fit into your care schedule for them, but it is a fantastic way for an in-home senior care services provider to help your aging loved one. A care provider can encourage your parent to stay more active on a regular basis by encouraging them to exercise in their own home, go on outings, and even participate in active experiences such as dance classes or senior exercise groups. Even if your aging loved one has mobility issues such as balance problems or arthritis, this care provider can provide support and assistance to your parent to enable them to participate in these activities safely and comfortably.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING CAREGIVERS IN RALEIGH, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT SENIORS HELPING SENIORS TODAY. CALL (919) 761-5346.
Kathy is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) who is active in several other senior related organizations, including Alzheimer’s State Champion program, Friends of the Northern Wake Senior Center board member, Ambassador for the Rolesville Chamber of Commerce, Aging Life Care Association (ALCA), Health Affairs Round Table (HART), and Senior Information Networking Group (SING).