Joint and bone pain is often a fact of life for many in the elderly population. Most of the time these ailments are taken with a grain of salt, and blamed on arthritis. Sometimes these pains grow so great that walking aids, or scooters are needed for older people to get around. As a caregiver it is important to understand what arthritis is, what causes it, and how it can be treated. Arthritis is one of the most common aliments home care workers will encounter, and while there is no cure for arthritis, there are ways to help clients cope with it.
Two types of arthritis are commonly seen in the elderly population. The first is osteoarthritis, or OA, a condition in which the cartilage between the joints has broken down, and pain is caused by the rubbing of bone on bone. OA is often seen in the back, knees, hips, and hands, making movement painful, and sometimes nearly impossible.
The second type of arthritis home care workers will come in contact with is Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA. RA is an autoimmune disorder which causes swelling in the joints, and other parts of the body. RA is a symmetrical disorder, which means it attacks both sides of the body.
Both types of arthritis are very prevalent among the female population, and can lead to accidents, and health complications in elderly people. A caregiver should be alert for signs of either type of arthritis in clients, and the things that can be done to help them.
While there are no cures for arthritis, of either type, medical science has provided some methods to help fight against it. In the past narcotic pain killers were often used to treat the symptoms of arthritis. Studies have revealed that there may be non-narcotic ways to combat arthritis. Glucosamine, an amino sugar, has been shown to help the body produce cushioning fluid around joints. Omega 3 fatty acids have shown success in helping treat people suffering from arthritis, and other ailments. Chondroitin, a substance found naturally in both human and animal cartilage, has also been shown to help the body produce cushioning fluid around the joints.