Since May is National Arthritis Month, we would like to take this time to talk to people who care for a loved one with arthritis. This painful condition is common among many senior citizens, and is cause by inflammation of the joints. Though there are many types of arthritis, there are a few caregiving skills that will increase happiness, independence and comfort for you and your loved one.
The more you know about your loved one’s arthritis, the better you can help them. The best place to start is the primary physician or rheumatologist. Ask questions about their condition and how, if possible, it can be improved. Get to know their medications, and ask if there are any other ways to decrease pain.
Talk with your parent or other family member about their arthritis. Find out when their symptoms are the worst (certain times of day and weather conditions can cause arthritis to become more painful), and call or visit during these times. Observe your loved one in action and ask them what tasks have become too difficult for them. For example: if yard work is painful for them, talk about hiring a landscaper.
Keep Independence Top of Mind
Since arthritis affects most people in their senior years, it can be hard for them to gradually lose their agility. While your loved one may not be debilitated, their self-esteem may decrease from a loss of independence. It is important that you step in where needed and take care of things, while maintaining their feelings of independence and self-reliance. This can be a fine line to tread, but always keep your loved one’s independence in mind.
When you are caring for a loved one affected by arthritis it is important to make sure you are strong and healthy. Depending on the severity of arthritis, you may need to support your loved one’s weight and be ready to catch them if they fall. Keeping a regular exercise routine and healthy diet is the best way to combat any possible health problems that may arise.
Find Good Resources
Most likely, you have your loved one on speed dial (if not, consider it). Having reliable resources is also important as a family caregiver. The Arthritis Foundation is one place to go for free advice and emotional support. You can put this organization on “speed dial” by bookmarking the website in your web browser. There are also many companies that are here to find the right kind of care for your loved one (and respite for you). Many arthritis patients do not need medical care; only medication reminders, physical support and companionship. SYNERGY HomeCare caregivers can provide each of these services while keeping your loved one as comfortable, independent and happy as possible.
For more information on how SYNERGY HomeCare can help you and your loved one, contact your local SYNERGY HomeCare location today.