Senior Alternatives

Care Management and Home Care Services
Osteoarthritis

March 12, 2021

Every year, 27 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, or OA. This is usually caused by everyday wear and tear on our joints, and services for seniors often involve education in this area. Though people of any age can develop arthritis, osteoarthritis is most often seen among the elderly. Caregivers definitely report that many of their clients experience it regularly.

In OA, cartilage that cushions joints as they move breaks down. Bones can rub against each other, causing pain. Bones may change shape as OA worsens. It can be painful and difficult to move the joint. Joint pain is the most common sign of OA. Your joints may feel stiff and painful after a lot of activity, such as at the end of the day. Usually, OA does not cause morning joint stiffness. OA signs and symptoms may also include joints that crack or grind, swollen knobs at affected joints, difficulty moving the joint, and/or loss of function or disability over time.

People with OA can do a lot to manage OA symptoms and have a good quality of life. Some helpful tips include the following: 

  • Adjust how you sit or sleep to support your neck and back. 
  • Use a raised chair or toilet seat. 
  • Avoid repeat joint motions, especially frequent bending. 
  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. This can reduce pain and slow the worsening of OA. Consider that for each 10 pounds you are overweight, that’s an additional 20-39 pounds of extra force to your knees.
  • Exercise daily. Stretching, walking and water aerobics are good activities for OA. • Use devices like canes or grabbers to help you do daily tasks. You can also work with a physical therapist or occupational therapist to learn safe exercises or movements, and to properly use assistive devices for your OA.
  • If you are a big soda or energy drink consumer, think about replacing those liquids with water. 

Listen to your body’s cues. If you have continuous pain, talk to your healthcare provider. If you are receiving home care services or any kind of senior care services, please use these individuals to help you identify further resources and/or work with you on self care. 

Every year, 27 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, or OA. This is usually caused by everyday wear and tear on our joints, and services for seniors often involve education in this area. Though people of any age can develop arthritis, osteoarthritis is most often seen among the elderly. 

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