Assisted Living: The impact of arthritis
Arthritis is a cluster of conditions that affects joints and the surrounding tissues. The points in the body where two or more bones join together are defined as joints. This includes knees, wrists, fingers, toes and hips. There are two most common forms of arthritis known as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that is usually caused by injuries that arise from repeated overuse from continuous tasks such as playing sports or carrying excess body weight. This condition affects joints involved with the hips, knees, neck, lower back and small joints in the hand. The repetition of motion associated with the joint will eventually wear away the cartilage that is between the bones of the joint. This causes the bones to rub together which causes a grating sensation. This results in reduction of flexibility in joints and joint swells.
The impact of arthritis is greater than simple discomfort
While arthritis does have significant implications of discomfort, older adults with experience can experience significant difficulties in daily living from tasks around the house taking longer to complete or difficulty in home care, self care, and cooking, to extreme difficulties in out of the house activities such as shopping, attending appointments, and leisure activities. Advanced arthritis can reduce mobility to such an extent that it can be impractical or dangerous for individuals to travel on their own for risk of falling or injury, and caring for themselves and their home can be so difficult that some individuals may neglect their own care.
There is a wide array of treatment options which include topical creams, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy and joint splinting and joint replacement surgery for serious cases. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory disease. An autoimmune inflammatory disease is a condition in which the body identifies enzymes that attack the body’s own healthy tissues. These enzymes can affect the joints by damaging the joint linings. This is the next most common form of arthritis and is usually inclusive of joints in fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders as well as knees, feet and ankles. This condition can cause reduction in motion and function in affected individuals in addition to pain, swelling and stiffness in joints. In addition, systemic symptoms such as fever and weakness can occur. Even though both these conditions seems to be identical from the name, they are vastly different in terms of diagnosis, symptoms and treatment.
When considering these symptoms that can arise from arthritis, it can be seen that when a person is diagnosed of the disease, he/she can suffer great pain and a significant impact is displayed in the mobility and in carrying out daily tasks. Joint pains can be very difficult to endure at times since they are a major component that assist in motion. This in turn can cause great difficulties in fulfilling day to day tasks and affect the quality of life in elders. If the elder is alone without a caretaker, his life will be extremely difficult and often times, they are forced into assisted living. A caretaker can help make the life of an arthritis patient easy. There are various treatments available for arthritis patients. However, in the case of arthritis, prevention is better than cure since paying attention to the body and observing healthy habits can go a long way in avoiding the condition.
In fact, by observing good lifestyle practices, this condition can be avoided altogether. Having an active lifestyle and refraining from unhealthy practices such as bad posture and avoiding overexertion can help a great deal in avoiding this condition. In patients with this condition, having senior caregivers who know how to prevent various forms of arthritis can help in having an eased lifestyle and a good quality of life.
Assisted living lets individuals focus on personal wellness and activities
This is not the retirement experience that older adults and their families imagine for themselves. Assisted living communities help to address the immobility issues created by arthritis by creating care communities with all the comforts of home, and professional assistance with housekeeping, meal preparation, running errands around town, and social activities. Assisted living communities also have personal wellness programs that help residents stay fit and healthy while addressing personal ailments like arthritis. This lets individuals enjoy the activities they want to pursue while focusing on their personal health and comfort.
If you have a family member experiencing the difficulty of living alone with debilitating arthritis, please consider touring Garden of Palms in Los Angeles to explore our community and see how retirement can be made easier.
Bones.nih.gov. (2017). Osteoporosis and Arthritis: Two Common but Different Conditions | NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. [online] Available at: https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/conditions-behaviors/osteoporosis-arthritis#a [Accessed 18 Dec. 2017].
Regional Distribution of Adult Rheumatologists. (2013). Arthritis & Rheumatism, 65(12), pp.3017-3025.
Heidari, B. (2011). Rheumatoid Arthritis: Early diagnosis and treatment outcomes . Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine, 2(1), 161–170.
Gossec L, Combescure C, Rincheval N, et al. Relative Clinical influence of Clinical, Laboratory, and Radiological Investigations in Early Arthritis on the Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Data from the French Early Arthritis Cohort ESPOIR. J Rheumatol. 2010;37:2486–92.