As temperatures begin to cool off a bit in the San Francisco Bay Area, many seniors who live with arthritis will experience at least some degree of stiffness or pain in the joints. In fact, almost 50% of Palo Alto seniors age 65 older have arthritis, for which there is no cure. How can you manage the symptoms and feel your best during the colder winter months? Our Bay Area home caregivers have a few tips.
First, make sure exercise is part of your daily regimen. While exercising may be the last thing on your mind when your joints are hurting, it’s truly one of the best ways to alleviate pain and stiffness. You don’t have to run a race or do high-impact aerobics. In fact, walking, Tai Chi, or simple range-of-motion exercises such as toe touches and arm circles can help loosen up muscles and reduce pain, along with a heating pad. If you’re up to it, give cycling or water aerobics a go. Weight training is also recommended by experts as well, as affected joints will get relief from muscle growth.
Simple tools help make daily tasks easier. From using a cane or doorknob extender to opening a can or jar, there are countless tools that make living easier on seniors with arthritis. Consider an electric can/jar opener, a cane when you’re walking to the mailbox or standing while talking to a neighbor, and other tools you may not have considered that can make living with arthritis so much easier!
Warm water is a true blessing for those suffering from arthritis. While you don’t want to soak in hot water, warm water is a great way to relax muscles and loosen joints that are stiff. While you’re sitting in a warm tub or pool, do a little gentle stretching. You may also want to consider adding Epsom salts to your bath or pool, as it is a proven way to increase the intake of magnesium – important to bone health. By exercising gently in warm water just a couple of times each weak, you can increase function while lessening pain by as much as 40%.
Try to reduce stress and eat healthy foods. Stress only amplifies the stiffness and pain associated with arthritis, so if you have issues with preparing meals, bathing, or getting dressed, it’s helpful to have an in-home caregiver to help with these tasks. Additionally, be sure to consume foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, and consumer a diet that includes not only vegetables but whole grains and lean protein. Losing weight reduces pressure on the joints for those who are overweight, and healthy foods assist in joint support by encouraging muscle growth.
At Care Indeed our Palo Alto in-home caregivers know that arthritis in seniors can limit the enjoyment of life. For help with meal preparation, exercise, and other activities that promote better health and a more comfortable life, contact our Bay Area caregivers today!