How to help people with arthritis?

In this blog, you are used to reading more about the forms of dementia as well as taking advice on what measures are best to take to secure your home and protect your loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia. We usually refract the necessary information through the prism of Blocks Adult Care, Hospice or Memory Care to deliver an article from our experience, recovery methods, attention to detail and care at the highest level. We believe that no phase is final and a person, no matter what he goes through, deserves physical and mental effort so that they can be preserved, and why not improve?

However, today, we decided to turn your attention to another disease, which does not necessarily appear in old age, but is quite common. Arthritis is a condition of the musculoskeletal system that affects the joints. Different types of arthritis can occur at different stages of life. Some forms affect children, others occur at the age of 30-40, and osteoarthritis, for example, is more common in older people, and our focus today will be on this last form of the disease. We chose to talk about arthritis because caring for a friend or family member suffering from it can also be huge challenge that requires time, peace of mind and awareness. Some of you may know that stiffness and pain in arthritis can interfere with normal movement as well as joint function. The pain can restrict walking as well as interfere with the natural movement and use of the hands. We will tell you what we think is good to know about the disease and its development, how to care for relatives and friends who are ill, how physical therapy helps and what else you can do to encourage people with arthritis to improve their condition or even slow down the disease.

As already mentioned, there are different types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and each person experiences different symptoms with varying degrees of severity. Some common features of arthritis may include:

  • Joint pain
  • Stiffness
  • Decreased muscle strength and function
  • Difficulty with functional mobility

Your loved ones or relatives suffering from arthritis may subsequently have difficulty performing well-known and easy movements or tasks. That is why when your help or someone else’s help is needed, it is a good idea to be aware of their condition and how arthritis generally affects your daily routine.

Caring for a loved one with arthritis

Of course, there are some things you can do or just keep in mind if you need to care for a loved one or relative with arthritis. These may include:

  • Try to get into their shoes. A clear understanding of the condition of a loved one can greatly help you determine when and for what he needs your help, because most people do not have the habit of seeking and requesting help. For example, if your loved one has rheumatoid arthritis, it affects the movement of the upper limbs, so they may need help opening bottles, cans, jars, or even dealing with tasks such as handling medications. A person with osteoarthritis of the knee may have difficulty walking and even navigating stairs.
  • Don’t stop talking about it. They should not feel different or incompetent. If you are helping someone to cope, it is just as right to discuss with them what you notice, how the disease develops, what else you can do to prevent it. In this way, you do not only have a calming effect on him, but you are also convinced that this does not exhaust you, that you are not there only out of obligation.
  • Read the signs correctly. Know when you are helping and when you need to take a step back. Most people with arthritis want to stay as independent as possible. It may seem like a good idea to help with walking, mobility in bed, or tasks that required any motor function. However, make sure that your loved one really wants this and there is a need, because some people with arthritis can be fully functionally independent. And if they desperately need help, they will ask for it or you will clearly see that it is so.
  • Assist them with devices or tools. Sometimes, people with arthritis need aids, such as walking sticks or walkers to move. Using them initially, and especially the shock when it comes to using an aid or tool for something as natural as walking can be difficult. Help in the beginning, be by their side or learn how to use it if the technology is new.
  • Encourage them to exercise. Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial and necessary for people with arthritis. Movement helps to maintain the joints and, of course, strengthens the muscles. In addition, proper exercise improves mobility. However, keep in mind that exercise can seem like a painful and even daunting task for people with arthritis. Approach with understanding and start little by little – encouragement will help them overcome the pain and gradually understand how much better they feel, thanks to movement.

How does physiotherapy help?

Very short and precise – it helps mobility. Many older people have difficulty climbing stairs or need help to go to the bathroom. With age, it is extremely important to work for physical mobility which will subsequently guarantee independence in any movement. This is where the role of the physiotherapist comes from. Regular visits to a professional help to strengthen muscles and bones and over time these exercises can make a huge difference in the quality of life. If the exercises are done safely, under the supervision of a qualified physiotherapist, they also improve heart and lung function.

Helps with pain

The pain that your loved ones or relatives experience as a result of arthritis can certainly prevent them from making rapid progress. As we mentioned above, they will probably refuse to move at first, decide that it is worse and not feel relieved. Therefore, in the very beginning the relief of pain can be achieved with medication (after explicit agreement with the supervising doctor) and start the application of physiotherapy. In time, they will find that they do not need to take medication to stop the pain. Exercises that move the joints and ligaments will be enough to alleviate the condition and help them feel better in their body. Pain relief exercises focus on the areas where there is pain and strive to make the body stronger and more flexible.

Arthritis, like other illnesses or postoperative conditions are actually serious problems that require much more attention than we often tend to pay. This is one of the reasons why in the last year Blocks has been actively working on the construction of the newest and most modern rehabilitation hospital in Bulgaria. The future hospital will include technologies such as antigravity paths, a hydrotherapy pool, and a water treadmill, as well as high-tech robotic mobility devices. In preparing and building these services, Blocks has collaborated with the world’s most prestigious rehabilitation center, Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, the number one in the United States for the past three decades.

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