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Could Your Aging Relative Have This Common Joint Problem?

Jun 8, 2018 by Nancy Hmieleski, RN, BSN Director of Nursing

Lena’s mom, Eileen, had always been strong and independent. She never seemed to slow down. Even after she retired, Eileen rarely sat still for long. She spent hours on her knees in the garden and cleaned her house once a week, whether it needed cleaning or not. But, Lena began to notice that her mom’s garden was looking a little unkempt, with weeds popping up all over. When she visited the house, the floor looked unwashed and the coffee table was dusty. Then, she noticed that her mom often groaned or grimaced when getting up from a chair. Lena confronted Eileen about what was going on and learned that her mom was suffering from pain in her knees that sometimes made walking, kneeling, and bending difficult. After going to the doctor, they learned that Eileen had a common form of arthritis called osteoarthritis.

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is often referred to as just OA. It is the most common kind of arthritis in older adults, affecting 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women who are over 60. OA is “wear and tear” arthritis that comes from years of use. It usually affects the knees, hips, spine, and hands. OA happens when the cartilage that protects the ends of bones wears down, sometimes resulting in bone on bone contact. 

There is no cure for OA and it is considered a progressive disease because it gets worse as time goes on. However, there are treatments that can manage symptoms and make living with OA easier.

What Are the Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?

OA symptoms generally appear gradually. Some signs that your aging relative may have the condition are:

  • Joint Pain: Joints may hurt while they are being moved or afterward.
  • Swelling: Affected joints may look larger than normal because of swelling.
  • Tenderness: Inflammation can make a joint painful when light pressure is applied.
  • Stiff Joints: In the morning when the older adult gets up or after they have been still for a while, joints may feel stiff and difficult to move.
  • Loss of Motion: The older adult may not be able to move the joint as well as they should.

If your older family member is diagnosed with OA, elder care can help them with tasks that become difficult because of the pain. An elder care provider can assist with cleaning and cooking. If the senior has trouble dressing because of arthritic hands, an elder care provider can fasten buttons, zip zippers, and tie laces. Elder care providers can also drive older adults if arthritis makes it difficult or unsafe to drive themselves.

Sources

https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoarthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351925

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/osteoarthritis-causes-symptoms-treatments-27871

If you or an elderly loved one are considering elder care in Lambertville, NJ, or the surrounding areas, call the caring professionals at Comfort Keepers of Flemington, NJ. Call today (908) 806-2220.

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