Tips for the elderly to ease arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition in more than 10 million people across the UK, especially the elderly, and it causes pain and inflammation in the joints.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type in the UK, affecting more than eight million people. It often develops in people aged 40-years-old and over, however, can occur at any age. It is also more common in women and people with a family history of it.

It initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint, making movement difficult and leading to pain and stiffness.

Rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 400,000 people in the UK, often starting when a person is between 40 and 50-years-old. It occurs when the body’s immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling.

The symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, tenderness and stiffness as well as inflammation in and around the joints. Movement of the joints also becomes restricted and weakness and muscle wasting can occur.

As carers of the elderly we are well trained in looking after people with arthritis and our carers understand how painful and distressing it can be.

Unfortunately there is no cure for arthritis, however we have put together some top tips on ways you can help ease aches and pains:

Gentle exercise

The last thing people with arthritis feel like doing is exercise but not moving and using joints can cause them to become even stiffer and more painful. A gentle walk is a great way to get started and get moving – you can read all about the benefits of walking for the elderly here – or you or an elderly loved-one could give Pilates a go as it is specifically designed to target the joints and can increase flexibility. Read all about the benefits of Pilates here.

Eat anti-inflammatory foods

You can help ease early symptoms of arthritis by introducing anti-inflammatory foods and spices into your diet. Fatty fish is ideal as it contains lots of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. Vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage and nuts, seeds and fruits rich in Vitamin K are also super important. Herbs such as garlic, onions, turmeric and ginger also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Losing weight

While we don’t recommend a dramatic diet in order to lose weight, it’s important to exercise, eat well and maintain a healthy weight as excess weight can put stress on the joints in the body.

Practice joint care

If you or an elderly loved-one already has arthritis it’s important to look after your joints so no further damage is done. You can reduce stress on the joints when carrying out everyday tasks around the home by practicing joint care. Where possible use larger, stronger joints such as shoulders to alleviate pressures of using your hands. You can also use spread the weight of objects by using both hands to carry them. Using rucksacks is a good way to spread the weight when carrying shopping or heavier items too.