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While arthritis is common among older adults, it is not a normal part of aging. Arthritis impacts 54 million adults today, and that number is expected to grow to 78 million by 2040.
Over 100 different types of arthritis might affect an aging adult, with osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) being the two most common ones. Any type of arthritis can affect a persons quality of life and ability to live independently, so it pays to talk to your loved ones healthcare provider about possible treatments to improve your relatives health and wellbeing.
Common Types of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis is very common and results from wear-and-tear on the joints. OA can occur in any joint, but it most often affects the hands and weight-bearing joints such as the knee, hip and spinal joints. OA symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the bodys immune system mistakenly attacks tissue in the joints, causing inflammation.
Any type of arthritis causes pain, stiffness and inflammation of the joints. These effects can make it difficult to move around or perform activities of daily living, such as showering and dressing. Severe arthritis even can contribute to falling.
Arthritis of any kind benefits from early diagnosis and treatment. Your loved ones healthcare provider may manage this care themselves or may refer you to a specialist.
As a caregiver, you also can take steps to help your loved one live with arthritis.
Tips for Family caregivers to help manage an older adults arthritis:
Listen and be empathetic.
Take their concerns seriously and communicate with them to their healthcare provider, especially if there hasnt been a diagnosis and symptoms are present.
Keep a journal of symptoms.
Family caregivers can help track when and where pain occurs. They can also help to track medications taken, foods eaten and activity or movement. This information can help identify patterns and provide valuable information to healthcare professionals. The Arthritis Foundation has an app that helps track symptoms and patterns.
Communicate with healthcare providers.
Often multiple healthcare providers care for older adults. The family caregiver can help keep communication consistent among all of them, which helps ensure everyone is on the same page and the person with arthritis is getting the medical care needed.
Encourage movement and regular exercise.
Seek out exercise or movement classes. The Arthritis Foundation has several great tools to help with this including the Walk with Ease Program and Your Exercise Solution. Even small amounts of movement throughout the day can add up and significantly improve a persons symptoms. Some ideas include laps around the house (indoors and outdoors), chair exercises and stretching. Be sure to consult the older adults healthcare provider before introducing exercise into the routine.
Assist with medication and treatment management.
Arthritis is often treatable with medication and other remedies. Family caregivers can help ensure the treatment plans are being followed. Below are additional tips for medication management:
Ask the pharmacist for an upside-down cap.
Use a pill popper device for over-the-counter medications that come in foil packaging.
Look into a prepackaged medication management system that has easy to open packaging such as Simple Meds.
Assist with a well-balanced diet.
For some people, the food they eat can impact their arthritis. Caregivers can prepare arthritis-friendly foods for their aging loved one and encourage them to eat a well-balanced diet. Learn more about arthritis diets.
Encourage weight loss if needed.
Family caregivers can assist their loved one in managing their weight. Excess weight can cause additional strain on weight-bearing joints such as hips and knees. Reduce body weight if needed and consult with a doctor about weight loss. Even a ten percent reduction can be helpful.
Hire professional help.
It is important for family caregivers to help their loved one maintain as much independence as possible. For some, it can be helpful to enlist the assistance of a professional. An Occupational Therapist can offer ideas to remain independent and keep as much functionality as possible. Professional home care can assist with tasks that are more challenging due to arthritis such as meal preparation, light housekeeping and medication management.
Arthritis symptoms can sometimes cause an older adult to be discouraged by what they can no longer do. Family caregivers should remain positive and keep the focus on what their loved one can still do.
Find creative solutions. There are many arthritis-friendly products that can make life easier. Below are some examples of creative solutions for various parts of the daily routine:
Foam handles and arthritis-friendly utensils.
Sit while chopping and preparing foods to reduce fatigue.
Use adaptive cutting boards to stabilize foods.
Utilize a crockpot for easy one pot meals.
Hire a home care company to assist with advanced meal preparation.
For boiling foods, utilize portion control strainers that can be left in the pot while cooking and that drain the water when the strainer is lifted out. This eliminates the need to carry a boiling pot of water to the sink.
Dressing and grooming
Install grab bars in shower, bathtub and around the toilet.
Toilet seat risers can help reduce the effort needed to sit down and stand up.
Automatic dispensers or pumps for grooming products help reduce the need to squeeze bottles.
Seek out adaptive grooming products with special grips and handles.
Button hooks can help with small buttons or velcro can be used to replace buttons all together.
Sock aids and long-handled shoehorns can help with footwear.
Card and game holders can help reduce fatigue while playing.
Gripping tools on small items (ex: tennis ball on paint brush) can help maintain independence.
Adaptive gardening tools can help make gardening more accessible.
Family caregivers play a vital role in helping their aging loved ones cope with the effects of arthritis and maintain their independence at home. Coordinating the older adults medical care, encouraging physical activity and helping with household tasks can help your relative stay safe and well at home despite the challenges of arthritis.
Handling Difficult Behaviors in Adults with Memory Challenges at HomeJanuary 26, 2024wwillemsBeing there for a family member with memory challenges can be both fulfilling and demanding. As a reputable home care agency in North Texas, Assisting Hands Home Care is familiar with the distinct challenges of caring for individuals with memory difficulties. In this extensive blog, we will explore the nuances of managing challenging behaviors in adults with memory challenges at home, providing practical suggestions, expert perspectives, and empathetic guidance for families navigating this experience.Understanding Behaviors Related to Memory Challenges:Memory challenges can manifest in various ways, affecting both cognitive and emotional aspects. Difficult behaviors like aggression, restlessness, wandering, and evening agitation are prevalent among adults facing memory challenges. Its important to acknowledge that these behaviors often arise from the internal changes in the brain and can be a way of communicating when verbal expression becomes challenging.Tips for Handling Difficult Behaviors:Establishing a Consistent Routine: Constructing a structured daily routine can offer a sense of stability and assurance for individuals facing memory challenges. Consistency in daily activities, meal times, and sleep patterns can help minimize anxiety and reduce disruptive behaviors.Effective Communication: Clarity and simplicity are crucial when communicating with someone dealing with memory challenges. Use a calm and gentle tone, maintain eye contact, and avoid overwhelming them with excessive information. Non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language, can be powerful tools for communication.Creating a Secure Environment: Minimizing potential hazards by securing the home environment is essential. Remove tripping risks, install handrails, and use locks or alarms on doors and windows to prevent wandering. A secure environment contributes to a sense of safety for both the individual facing memory challenges and their caregivers.Engaging in Meaningful Activities: Stimulating the mind through activities aligned with the individuals interests can be therapeutic. Whether its enjoying music, incorporating light exercises, or participating in reminiscence therapy, meaningful activities can enhance well-being and mitigate difficult behaviors.Empowering with Choices: Providing choices whenever possible empowers individuals facing memory challenges. Simple decisions, such as choosing between two clothing options or deciding on a preferred snack, can promote a sense of control and independence.Utilizing Distraction Techniques: In the face of difficult behaviors, redirecting attention to a different activity or topic can be effective. Distractions that align with the persons interests can shift their focus away from challenging behaviors.Collaboration with Healthcare Professionals: Seeking guidance from healthcare professionals, including doctors and therapists, is essential to address any underlying medical or psychological factors contributing to difficult behaviors. Adjustments to medications or therapeutic interventions may be recommended based on individual needs.Family and Caregiver Support: The emotional and physical demands of caring for someone with memory challenges can be overwhelming. Seeking support from family, friends, or local caregiver support groups is crucial. Respite care services from Assisting Hands Home Care can provide temporary relief, allowing caregivers to recharge and maintain their well-being.Educating and Training Caregivers: Providing family caregivers with the knowledge and skills needed to offer effective care is essential. Training programs, workshops, and informational resources can boost caregiver confidence and competence.Conclusion:Supporting a family member with memory challenges requires a holistic approach rooted in understanding, compassion, and practical strategies. Assisting Hands Home Care in North Texas is dedicated to assisting families in handling difficult behaviors in adults with memory challenges at home. By implementing the suggestions and insights shared in this blog, caregivers can foster a nurturing environment that enhances the well-being of both the individual with memory challenges and those providing care. Remember, you are not alone on this journey, and support is available to help you navigate the challenges with empathy and expertise.
Holistic Home Care Assistance in North Texas: Partnering with Hospice CareJanuary 16, 2024wwillemsGrief is a profound emotion that accompanies the loss of a loved one, a natural response to a challenging experience. When individuals and their families face the difficult task of coping with grief and bereavement, home-based hospice care becomes a source of comfort and support. Assisting Hands Home Care, a prominent home care agency in North Texas, understands the unique needs of those going through this emotional journey. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various aspects of coping with grief in the context of home-based hospice care, offering insights, resources, and support to help families navigate this process.Understanding Grief and Bereavement: Grief is a complex emotional response to loss, encompassing a range of feelings such as sadness, anger, guilt, and even relief. Bereavement refers to the period of mourning and adjustment following the loss of a loved one. In a home-based hospice care setting, individuals and their families experience grief in the comfort of their own homes, surrounded by familiar environments and supportive caregivers.The Role of Home-Based Hospice Care: Assisting Hands Home Care recognizes the importance of creating a compassionate and supportive environment for individuals and families dealing with grief and bereavement. Trained caregivers collaborate with healthcare professionals to provide holistic care that addresses not only the physical needs but also the emotional and psychological aspects of grief.Navigating the Emotional Rollercoaster: Grieving is a unique process for each individual, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Assisting Hands Home Care emphasizes the significance of acknowledging and expressing emotions during this challenging time. Caregivers are trained to provide a listening ear, offer companionship, and create a safe space for open communication. This emotional support plays a crucial role in helping individuals navigate the ups and downs of the grief rollercoaster.Practical Tips for Coping at Home:Establishing a Support System: Assisting Hands Home Care encourages families to build a strong support system comprising friends, family, and professional caregivers. Having a network of individuals who understand and empathize with the grieving process can provide comfort and companionship.Creating Meaningful Rituals: Rituals can play a vital role in honoring the memory of a loved one. Whether its lighting a candle, creating a memorial space, or sharing stories, these rituals can provide a sense of connection and purpose during the grieving process.Seeking Professional Counseling: Home-based hospice care extends beyond physical assistance. Assisting Hands Home Care offers access to professional counselors and therapists who specialize in grief and bereavement support. These experts can help individuals and families cope with complex emotions and provide coping strategies for the long term.Focusing on Self-Care: Grieving individuals often neglect their own well-being. Assisting Hands Home Care emphasizes the importance of self-care, including proper nutrition, adequate rest, and engaging in activities that bring comfort and solace. Caregivers play a crucial role in supporting individuals in maintaining their physical and mental health.Addressing Common Concerns:Fear of Isolation: Grieving individuals may fear isolation, but Assisting Hands Home Care ensures that compassionate caregivers are available to provide companionship and emotional support. Our team is committed to fostering a sense of connection and understanding.Anticipatory Grief: In a hospice care setting, anticipatory grief is common as families prepare for the inevitable loss. Assisting Hands Home Care offers guidance on managing anticipatory grief, including communication strategies, creating meaningful moments, and accessing additional resources for support.Conclusion:Coping with grief and bereavement in a home-based hospice care setting requires a comprehensive and compassionate approach. Although Assisting Hands Home Care does not provide hospice care, we work in close partnership with local hospice care providers. Our services complement each other. Assisting Hands Home Care in North Texas stands as a pillar of support for individuals and families navigating this challenging journey. By combining professional caregiving services with emotional support and practical tips, our agency aims to create a comforting and healing environment during one of lifes most difficult times. Remember, you are not alone, and support is available to guide you through the process of coping with grief at home.
Unlocking Mental Wellness: Cognitive Stimulation Activities for SeniorsDecember 28, 2023wwillemsAs the years pass, maintaining cognitive function becomes increasingly vital for overall well-being. In North Texas, Assisting Hands Home Care acknowledges the importance of cognitive stimulation activities in supporting mental acuity and quality of life among seniors. In this extensive guide, we will delve into the significance of cognitive stimulation for seniors and explore a range of engaging activities seamlessly woven into daily routines.Grasping the Essence of Cognitive Stimulation:Cognitive stimulation encompasses activities that challenge and engage the brain, fostering mental agility and guarding against cognitive decline. For seniors, these activities play a pivotal role in fortifying memory, honing problem-solving skills, and sustaining overall cognitive function. In North Texas, Assisting Hands Home Care recognizes the distinctive needs of seniors and has compiled a collection of effective cognitive stimulation activities to bolster their mental well-being.The Significance of Cognitive Stimulation for Seniors:A. Cognitive Health and Aging:With advancing age, the vulnerability to cognitive decline, including conditions like dementia and Alzheimers disease, heightens. Engaging in routine cognitive stimulation activities can serve to postpone the onset of these conditions and preserve mental sharpness.B. Emotional and Social Paybacks:Cognitive stimulation activities extend beyond mental exercise, also offering emotional and social advantages. Participating in group activities fosters social bonds, diminishes feelings of isolation, and contributes to emotional well-being.C. Enhanced Quality of Life:Seniors who actively involve themselves in cognitive stimulation activities frequently report an elevated quality of life. These activities contribute to a sense of accomplishment, boost confidence, and offer a meaningful way to spend time, enriching overall well-being.Tailoring Cognitive Stimulation Activities to Seniors in North Texas:A. Outdoor Memory Walks:Leverage the pleasant North Texas climate by organizing memory walks in local parks or neighborhoods. Encourage seniors to share stories and reminisce while relishing the benefits of physical exercise.B. Gardening Therapy:Devise a therapeutic gardening space for seniors to nurture plants and flowers. Gardening not only enhances cognitive function but also provides a sensory-rich experience that stimulates the mind.C. Music and Memory:In North Texas, where music is deeply ingrained in the culture, infusing music into cognitive stimulation activities is both pleasurable and effective. Craft playlists featuring familiar tunes from different eras, prompting seniors to sing along or share memories associated with the songs.D. Brain Teasers and Puzzles:Involve seniors in brain teasers, crossword puzzles, and Sudoku to keep their minds agile. Assisting Hands Home Care provides personalized assistance, ensuring that these activities align with each individuals cognitive abilities.E. Art and Creativity Sessions:Tap into the artistic inclinations of seniors by organizing art and craft sessions. From painting to pottery, creative activities stimulate the brain while providing a fulfilling outlet for self-expression.Embedding Cognitive Stimulation into Daily Routines:A. Tailored Care Plans:Assisting Hands Home Care recognizes that every senior has unique needs. Develop personalized care plans that integrate cognitive stimulation activities based on individual preferences and capabilities.B. Family Participation:Encourage family members to actively participate in cognitive stimulation activities during visits. This not only strengthens family bonds but also provides additional support for seniors.C. Integration of Technology:Incorporate technology into cognitive stimulation activities. Introduce seniors to brain-training apps, virtual museum tours, and video calls with loved ones, creating a holistic approach to cognitive wellness.Gauging Success and Adapting Activities:Regularly evaluate the impact of cognitive stimulation activities on seniors cognitive function. Adjust and modify activities based on their responses and preferences, ensuring an ongoing and enriching experience.Conclusion:In North Texas, Assisting Hands Home Care is dedicated to enhancing the lives of seniors through thoughtful and engaging cognitive stimulation activities. By acknowledging the importance of mental well-being and tailoring activities to individual needs, seniors can continue to lead fulfilling and active lives. Embrace the journey of cognitive stimulation, unlocking the potential for a brighter and more vibrant future for seniors in North Texas.
Home Instead can help with compassionate, senior home care services. Non-medical home care focuses on helping seniors with the daily activities they need to engage in to remain safe and healthy. Many seniors need help to get their day started with assistance showering, preparing breakfast and taking their medications. Likewise, help before bedtime, or even overnight, can be an important safety net for seniors at home who often are more apprehensive at nighttime. One of the most important needs of a senior who lives alone is often simple companionship. The companionship component of a professional caregivers job can be just as vital as the physical assistance a professional will provide.
Home Instead Senior Care can help with compassionate, senior home care services for people at any point within the aging process. We'll work with you to develop a personalized care plan tailored to help fit your family's needs. Our expert care provides all the support people need to live well wherever they call home for years to come.