Arthritis is a common chronic condition and the leading cause of disability. It often limits work, recreation and basic daily activities. There are a hundred types of arthritis. The most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis and osteoarthritis, where in joints such as finger, hips and knees are usually affected. Below are some helpful ways on how to manage an elderly with arthritis and how to help them cope with their everyday living:
1. Pain management- Applying heat on the painful joint can relieve the pain. You can use warm towels, hot packs, hot water bag, a warm bath or a warm shower. Avoid heat packs if the joint is inflamed.
2. Comfortable shoes and walking aids- Do not let the elderly wear shoes that are ill fitting and uncomfortable. You can place wedges and insoles (if any) in the shoes. Make sure that the elderly uses walking aids such as cane or a walker when necessary.
3. Weight and nutrition- Help the elderly stick to his recommended weight. Serve plenty of fruits and vegetables as much as possible.
4. Avoidance of purine rich foods- Serving foods high in purine such as shellfish and organ meat, mackerel, mushroom and sardines is a big NO since these foods can raise uric acid levels in the blood, hence, cutting back on purines is beneficial for the elderly.
5. Medication- Proper compliance in pain medication and follow up check up with the family physician is recommended.