Arthritis. The word literally means joint inflammation and includes more than 100 different diseases, all of which center around bodily aches and pains and the aggravations that accompany those wretched symptoms.
Few diagnoses can create such a transition from the routine in life, as does arthritis. Activities such as sports, traveling, and driving are often too painful to continue, and realizing the physical limitations can be disappointing.
Tips To Feeling Tops
Alleviate the emotional and physical pain associated with arthritis by following these tips:
• Become as educated as possible with the conditions of arthritis and be knowledgeable about any new treatment options available.
• Because arthritis usually affects the hands first, writing may be more difficult. Finding the right balance of comfort may only require a small triangle cushion, which eases pressure, found in many office supply stores.
• Pill reminders can reduce the stress of remembering to take pain medication throughout the day.
• Don’t sit idle or resting for long periods of time to prevent stiffness or pain when you do begin moving. Instead, move around at least a little bit each hour to create blood flow and movement in the legs and arms.
• Just because a loved one with arthritis may not be able to do the activities they’ve enjoyed doing in years past, involving them in your life and family activities may provide that rewarding feeling of participation again.
• An exercise routine can focus on painful areas and reduce discomfort by remaining more fit.
• Arrange cupboards and furniture to accommodate reduced flexibility and to increase brain activity.
• Use safety rails in the bathroom and along stairways to maintain balance and to provide reassuring support.
• If possible, condense large items, such as soap or soda, into smaller, lighter containers that can be lifted easier.
• In the kitchen, use lightweight dishware and cups with handles for eating and serving food.
• Do not be afraid to attend arthritis support groups that can help one adjust emotionally to the ailment and better understand the condition.
• Confucius said, “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember, involve me and I’ll understand.” Talk to the doctor and ask questions. By writing down questions as they occur and keeping them handy for doctor visits will ensure that answers are obtained in a timely manner. Seek out friends. Consider these wise words, “True friendship isn’t about being there when it’s convenient, it’s about being there when it’s not.”
• Call on others for support and assistance. While this may not be easy, it is important. Be very specific with requests for help or information.
Getting to know other people who have lived full lives in spite of arthritis will provide inspiration that goes a long way. Lucille Ball, well-known film and television actress, suffered with rheumatoid arthritis as a young woman and was unable to walk for two years. But her famous television show, “I Love Lucy,” the first situation comedy to be filmed before a live audience, won five Emmy awards.
Auguste Renoir, famed French impressionistic painter and sculptor, suffered with rheumatoid arthritis and actually had to have his paintbrushes tied to his hands so that he might create his works of art. He eventually became paralyzed in both legs and turned to sculpting when he could no longer paint.
Call us to learn more about our homecare team in Philadelphia and beyond. Complete Care Strategies is here for you and your elderly loved ones.
Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Complete Care Strategies