Osteoarthritis: Your Mom Has It, So What Can You Do to Help?

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The Arthritis Foundation names osteoarthritis as the most common form of chronic joint disease. It’s especially prevalent in adults over the age of 65, in those who are overweight, and in those who tend to use their joints more than the average person, such as an athlete.

With osteoarthritis, the cartilage on the bones that form the joint disintegrates. As a result, the bones rub on each other and can chip away and lead to bone particles floating within the joint. Osteoarthritis can happen in any joint, but it’s most common in hips, knees, and the lower back. Symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.

Your mom’s been diagnosed as having osteoarthritis. You’re not sure what this means in terms of her living on her own. Here are a few things you should know.

Exercise is Essential

If your mom is overweight, losing weight can help her. More importantly, your mom needs to keep exercising. She needs to strengthen the muscles around the affected joint. Walking is one of the best exercises for this. Taking a walk is free and is something she doesn’t have to do alone. If she has a dog, she can walk her dog. If not, she can join neighbors or friends as they go for a walk through the community. You could join her for a daily walk, too.

Physical Therapy Can Help

If mobility is an issue, your mom will benefit from physical therapy. She’ll have a professional help her with fitness routines that help her build muscle without damaging the joint further. Ask her doctor for a recommendation.

Make Sure She Takes Medications as Directed

Your mom’s doctor may recommend NSAIDs like Advil to help manage pain. Always use the lowest dosage necessary to relieve the pain. As many pain relievers can damage organs when overused, it’s important your mom doesn’t over-medicate.

Corticosteroids are also helpful in some cases. If your mom’s doctor recommends corticosteroids, they can be injected into the joint at the doctor’s office or prescribed. Hyaluronic acid injections may also be recommended. The best option will be discussed during her appointment.

Hire a Caregiver

Osteoarthritis can make it hard for your mom to walk up and down stairs. She may find it impossible to lift the corner of a mattress when making a bed. As this happens, caregivers help her manage daily routines. Caregivers can help with light housework, bedding changes, and laundry. Call a home care agency today to discuss your mom’s needs.

If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Purcellville, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.