InnovAge Blog

Tips to Manage Arthritis

InnovAge doctor patient hands arthritisMany people think that arthritis is a normal part of aging, but that is not the case. There are steps you can take to prevent and manage arthritis in older adults.

Know the Signs
54 million adults live with arthritis in the U.S. today. To prevent and manage the spread of this difficult disease, it’s important to recognize symptoms, which can develop slowly over time. Warning signs may include a smaller range of motion, warmth, swelling, or pain around joints.

The best way to prevent arthritis is by taking steps to improve your health before symptoms start. Regular exercise is especially important to keep your joints mobile. Good nutrition can help you maintain a healthy weight. You can also reduce risk by not smoking (or quitting smoking).

Living with Arthritis
If you do develop arthritis, exercise can reduce pain and improve your overall health. Consider joining a class that works on flexibility, strength, and aerobic endurance to improve your range of motion.

Nutrition can also help with arthritic symptoms. Keep a food journal to track food and look for patterns that connect your pain to certain foods. Processed foods and saturated fats can cause inflammation. Try to follow an anti-inflammatory diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil, avocados, and beans.

Advice for Caregivers
It can be hard to understand what it’s like to live with arthritis if you haven’t experienced it yourself. If you’re a caregiver for someone who has arthritis, try to listen and practice empathy.

Communicate with your loved one’s doctors to find creative solutions and come up with a personalized plan. Seek help in particular from experts who specialize in the disease, like rheumatologists, orthopedic surgeons, and occupational therapists. Encourage movement and focus on what your loved one is still able to do.

This post is based on information shared in a seminar hosted by the American Society on Aging titled “Managing Arthritis in Older Adults” as part of the Home Instead Senior Care Family Caregiver Support Webinar Series.
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