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  • Writer's pictureAlex Strein, MBA

Cousin Arthur

Updated: Mar 10, 2023



Every family has a member that just doesn’t fit in with the rest. One that causes problems more often than not and doesn’t seem to offer anything positive. For many older adults, there is a nuisance relative they all have in common: Cousin Arthur. Who is Arthur, you ask? Arthritis. And with cool weather coming, he’ll soon be knocking at the door.

Arthritis is a joint condition that affects nearly half of American adults over the age of 65. While there are many forms of arthritis, the most common type is osteoarthritis. The most common symptoms are joint stiffness, pain, and weakness due to inflammation. Osteoarthritis tends to predominantly impact the hands, hips and knees due to the heavy wear and tear on the cartilage of these joints. While symptoms can occur year-round, many older adults experience flare ups when the temperature drops, due to changes in barometric pressure.

Of those diagnosed with arthritis, over 43% reported limited activity due to the condition. This includes limited ability to complete Activities of Daily Living, like bathing and dressing. While it is important to consult a medical professional before stopping or starting treatments, there are a few extra things you can do to send “Cousin Arthur” on his way.

Tips to Reduce Arthritis Pain

Get physical! Low-impact exercises can reduce pain by strengthening joints and improving flexibility. Exercising also helps build overall strength and confidence, which can further reduce the risk of injury.

Stay Warm Dress in layers to best insulate your body and allow blood flow to the extremities.

Take a warm bath or shower Warm water can help reduce inflammation, subsequently resulting in pain relief and reduced stiffness. Consider adding Epsom salts for added benefits.

Wear Compression clothing Compression gloves and socks can help reduce pain by supporting joints. The added layers will also help to keep your joints warm and cozy.

Stay hydrated Proper hydration has many health benefits (read more about this in our last blog here)

Avoid unnecessary strain on your joints Properly using assistive devices or modifying your environment can certainly reduce the risk of joint strain. Do your best to avoid falls, slips, trips, or overextension of joints. As a matter of fact, this may be a great time to inventory your surroundings to identify and remove any trip hazards that could be in your way.

In Practice

We try our best to take all of these tips to heart at The Paragon. We are able to assist residents with activities of daily living when Cousin Arthur rears his head. Additionally, we offer exercise classes multiple times per week to keep our residents healthy and strong. Cousin Arthur may overstay his welcome, but by making good choices for your health and being proactive, you may be able to lessen the burden of his stay.

References

Barbour, K. E., Helmick, C. G., Boring, M., & Brady, T. J. (2017, March 10). Vital signs: Prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation – United States, 2013-2015. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5687192/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, July 27). Osteoarthritis (OA). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm#:~:text=Osteoarthritis%20(OA)%20is%20the%20most,underlying%20bone%20begins%20to%20change.

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