Q: My 81-year-old father's arthritis is so bad he says he doesn't feel like doing anything anymore. I've read that the best remedies for arthritis pain are walking and water therapy. How can I convince him to give this a try, since he lives alone and has no one to motivate him?
A: According to statistics, your dad has company!
Arthritis is among the more common ailments of growing older. In fact, about 12.4 million seniors - 33.6 percent of those age 65 and older - in the U.S. suffer with osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis among older people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And 50 million Americans live with some form of arthritis.
Early diagnosis and proper management of arthritis can help people with arthritis decrease pain, improve function, decrease and delay disability and stay productive and active.
Your dad should strive to incorporate these five arthritis solutions into his lifestyle:
-learn self-management strategies
-watch his weight
-protect his joints
-see his doctor
Despite the known benefits of physical activity to help manage arthritis, adults with arthritis are less active than adults without arthritis, according to the CDC.
Federal guidelines recommend all adults, including adults with arthritis, get at least 150 minutes per week of at least moderate intensity aerobic activity and that they do muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 days per week.
Since your father lives alone, try to help him find a walking partner such as a friend or neighbor who could join him for daily jaunts around the neighborhood.
Or he could look into a walking club in the community. Contact a local YMCA or fitness center to inquire about walking clubs. Other seniors have discovered the benefits of water therapy. Check with local hospitals in your area about such programs.
Also consider the benefits of a non-medical caregiver.
For instance, a Home Instead CAREGiverSM could either accompany your father on a walk, provide transportation to a fitness program or encourage him to try to stay active. Contact your local Home Instead Senior Care office to learn more.
For more about arthritis, visit www.homeinstead.com/senior-care-resources-illnesses-conditions/ arthritis /Pages/a thritis.aspx or www.cdc.gov/arthritis/. Or, for a video series, "Living at Home with Arthritis," visit www.homeinstead.com/senior-care-resources-illnesses-conditions/arthri tis/resource s/Pages/ResourceArticle.aspx?Fiter1Field=I D&Filter1 Value=12.
For more information about Home Instead Senior Care, contact DeLauter at 866-522-6533 or visit www.homeinstead.com.
DeLauter is the owner of the Home Instead Senior Care office in Lewisburg, which serves Union, Snyder, Northumberland, Lycoming, Clinton, Montour and Columbia counties.