Seniors are commonly affected by two types of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While these different types of arthritis have similar symptoms, such as joint pain, they can have distinct causes. Ahead, learn about the main causes of arthritis in seniors.
Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis
The two main types of arthritis are distinguished by how they affect the joints. Osteoarthritis, the most common variety, is characterized by damage to joint cartilage. This wear-and-tear damage occurs over years, grinding down the cartilage at the ends of bones until there’s none left to act as protection. Without these connective tissues, bones grind against bones, which causes joint pain and limits mobility. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, occurs when the lining of the joint capsule is attacked by the immune system, which results in inflammation of the joint and deterioration of the surrounding cartilage and bones.
As people age, they become more likely to develop arthritis because of the changes the musculoskeletal structure goes through over time. Joint function is impacted by brittle cartilage, decreased bone density, and stiffness of the ligaments/tendons. When joint function is compromised, the body is more likely to develop arthritis. To forestall age-related concerns, seniors should follow a diet rich in calcium, which promotes strong bones. Regular exercise also keeps the joints strong and limber.
For seniors with mobility limitations or health conditions that make it difficult to exercise safely on their own, professional caregivers can be a wonderful asset. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care. Green Valley Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
When seniors are overweight, it places more stress on their joints. If these joints are already compromised by age-related decreases in bone density and cartilage strength, the additional stress can hasten the development of arthritis. To reduce weight-related joint damage, overweight seniors should adopt healthy lifestyle choices such as following a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins and increasing their weekly cardiovascular activity.
Professional caregivers can be a tremendous asset for seniors with health conditions that make it difficult to plan and prepare nutritious meals. For many seniors in Green Valley, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.
Seniors who have previously sustained injuries should ask their physicians whether there’s anything they can do to maintain healthy joints as they age. Doctors may be able to provide specific exercises or stretches to keep the joints limber and mobile. Seniors should also take steps to prevent future injuries by implementing safety measures in their homes. In the bathroom, they should add nonslip mats and grab bars. They may also want to secure loose rugs or carpets and get rid of tripping hazards like electrical cords and clutter.
Some seniors may have a genetic predisposition to arthritis. While this risk factor can’t be wholly mitigated, seniors can still take steps to reduce the chances of developing arthritis. For example, an aging woman with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis should be aware of her increased susceptibility. To lower the chances of developing the condition, she should refrain from smoking and try to maintain a healthy weight.
Because of the higher risk of arthritis, decreased immunity, and other health concerns, seniors should exercise and eat nutritious foods. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care services. Green Valley families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. If your loved one needs professional home care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at 520-625-2050 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.