How to make living with arthritis easierPosted on: 20 November 2015 by 50connect editorial
Liz Greene offers advice for older people living with arthritis and explains how to limit the condition's painful effects.
In America more than 52.5 million adults have at least one form of arthritis — and as the Boomer generation ages, this number is only expected to go up. If you’re one of those millions, you’re fully aware of the impact arthritis has on maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can fight the painful effects it has on your daily life.
How arthritis affects daily life
According to the Arthritis Foundation, 23 million people with arthritis report that they are limited in their daily activities, including walking, standing, bending, and climbing stairs. While many treatment options exist for the various types of arthritis, you still have to deal with the pain and stiffness that only worsens as you age. This can have a significant impact on how you live in your home and your overall lifestyle.
Arthritis often creates challenges with the daily grooming tasks that most people take for granted. Whether you are tying your shoes, brushing your teeth, or drying off after a shower, arthritis can make the most basic grooming habits a painful task.
Basic housework can also cause difficulty for those with arthritis. Holding the handle of a mop, broom or vacuum creates stress and pain in the hands. Washing dishes and cleaning off countertops also causes similar issues, especially if they require standing for long periods of time.
Arthritis makes moving around the home an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous task. Whether you’re rising from a prone position, or going up and down stairs, the pain and discomfort that results can result in injury as the symptoms of arthritis progress.
Even though arthritis causes pain, stiffness, and discomfort, it doesn’t mean it has to keep you from living comfortably in your home. By making a few simple to moderate changes, you can reduce strain on your body and relieve some of the pain associated with performing everyday tasks.
Some basic tips include:
- Keep commonly used items within easy reach
- Hold onto grab bars or sturdy furniture to assist with rising, sitting, or standing
- Spread out chores during the week instead of trying to do them all at once
- Using grips or non-slip devices for items like handles, pens, pencils, and toothbrushes
- Invest in tools and gadgets that help with daily tasks.
- Wear slip on shoes to avoid having to bend over to tie shoelaces
- Promote joint health by eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fish, eggs, milk, juice, and oysters.
You can also make adjustments to your home to ease mobility issues. This can range from keeping pathways clear of clutter or debris to installing devices like a stair lift to improve the way you move about your home.
Making just a few changes can make a big difference in limiting how arthritis affects daily life in your home. Discuss making these adjustments with your healthcare provider to get the most benefit from them so you can lead a more comfortable life within your home.
About the author
Liz Greene is a writer and former preschool teacher from Boise, Idaho. She’s a lover of all things geek and is happiest when cuddling with her dogs and catching up on the latest Marvel movies. You can follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene
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