As the weather cools down and the leaves change color, many people look forward to the warm and cozy seasons of fall and winter. But for older people with arthritis, the colder months can make their pain and fatigue worse. It’s important for seniors, loved ones, and the home care team to learn useful tips that can help seniors with arthritis stay comfortable and busy as the weather gets cooler.
Understanding Arthritis and Cold Weather
Arthritis is a group of diseases that make the joints hurt and swell. Arthritis of the knee and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types. A few of the ways that chilly weather can increase arthritis issues are listed below:
- Constriction of Blood Vessels: When it’s cold, blood vessels get smaller, which cuts off blood flow to the joints and limbs. This can make arthritis joints hurt more and become stiffer.
- Changes in Barometric Pressure: Some people with arthritis are sensitive to changes in barometric pressure, which happen a lot when the weather changes. These changes can also make arthritis worse.
- Reduced Activity: When it’s cold outside, seniors may not move around as much, which can make their muscles weak and joints stiff. Being inactive can make arthritis complaints worse.
How to Help Seniors With Arthritis When It Gets Cooler
For adults with arthritis to stay warm and comfortable in cold weather, they need to wear the right clothes. The home care team and loved ones can encourage them to wear thermal materials, layers of clothing, and other cold-weather items like gloves, socks, and earmuffs. Additionally, when going outside, they need a warm coat with good insulation.
Even though it might be tempting for everyone to stay inside and sleep, staying active is important for treating arthritis. Yoga, tai chi, and walking are all activities that can help keep joints flexible and less stiff. The home care team can transport seniors to group classes, help them find classes online, or take a quick walk with them outside or at the local mall.
When arthritis strikes, the home care team can help by encouraging seniors to use a heating pad or take a warm bath. Microwaveable heat packs might also be useful for targeted pain. In addition, following a healthy diet with foods that lower inflammation, like fruits, vegetables, and fatty fish, can help ease the pain of arthritis. Loved ones and the home care team can encourage healthy choices, as well as teach seniors how to cook certain foods.
It’s important to give seniors the tools they need to stay busy and enjoy the season by paying attention to their needs and taking steps to make the cold weather easier for them. It’s also crucial to encourage them to talk with their medical team to get personalized advice and treatment options that are fit for their situation and arthritic needs. Working together, the home care team and loved ones can make the season more enjoyable and less painful for seniors.