Arthritis will often creep up by stealth, commonly developing over a many years without respite. This process is not easy to monitor as there are a variety of variations of it with a distinct set of symptoms causing a great deal of physical pain especially during the later years. Essentially, the ageing process is linked to joint degeneration which in turn creates pressure on the musculoskeletal system. Such issues do range from stiff joints developing to swellings arising over certain areas of the body. With years of being physically active, some face the indignity of struggling with activities that were at one time straight forward although have since become almost impossible, along with loss of confidence due to the mental health issues following swiftly on. Quality of life may also be compromised coping with everyday tasks while in some cases outside help is required in order to stay independent.
Half of all 65-year olds undergo some sort of physical restriction due to Arthritis be it osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or gout. We believe it’s worth noting the symptoms are not just limited to pain from damaged joints, Arthritis increases the risk of mental health problems too, like depression and anxiety affecting our older population, so it is important that these problems are addressed simultaneously. Attention to care needs tied in with regular pain management techniques will help support the patient. Adopting a more holistic approach to wellbeing will reap rewards during a difficult patch and can be supported by the following actions:
- Plan for the future by speaking to a doctor or therapist about a course of action.
- Seek knowledge about a particular type of arthritis.
- Support groups are available to talk issues through, give advice and understanding. You are not alone.
- Keep active as much as possible even if are just able to manage for a limited time each day.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Prepare for a good sleep at night by following a good bedtime routine.
- Apply hot or cold packs when pain is too much.
The NHS have provided a helpful website about coping with Arthritis suggesting treatment and support options: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/osteoarthritis/treatment/