Arthritis describes the inflammation, stiffness, pain, and swelling of the joints, and it affects millions of elderly Americans each year. In many cases, the arthritis is so severe that it forces seniors to rely on home care providers and family caregivers for assistance with daily tasks. When cold and wet winter weather appears, many seniors experience a flare-up of symptoms, which can make the condition even more unbearable.

Family caregivers and home care providers can do a lot to help elderly adults alleviate their arthritis symptoms during a winter flare-up. The key is to follow the doctor’s orders for treatment, which usually includes topical creams and oral pain relievers, then doing things to bring comfort and alleviate pain and swelling. Knowing the facts about winter flare-ups of arthritis can help family caregivers assist their aging loved ones during their time of need.

Symptoms of Winter Flare-Ups:In general, arthritis symptoms include inflammation, stiffness, swelling, and pain. During a flare-up, the pain may be more intense in commonly affected areas such as hands, shoulders, back, hips, knees, neck, and feet. As the cold and wet weather intensifies, aging adults usually experience an increase in pain and stiffness that can significantly affect their daily life.

Impact of Winter Flare-Ups:Cold and damp weather can affect an elderly person’s arthritis so much that they reach a point where they are in extreme pain and struggle to get through the day. During these episodes, seniors usually rely on family caregivers and home care providers to take over self-care and home-care duties for them. They also rely on their support people to help them alleviate their arthritis symptoms.

Treating Winter Flare-Ups:Although there isn’t a cure for arthritis or a sure-fire way to eliminate the discomfort of a winter flare-up, family caregiversand home care providers can do a lot to help. In addition to a doctor’s recommendation for topic creams and pain relievers, physical therapy and massages often help alleviate arthritis symptoms. Keeping the affected areas warm, such as with a heating pad, can also help. Space heaters, blankets, and appropriate clothing can keep seniors warm all winter long, easing the pain of an arthritis flare-up.

Preventing Winter Flare-Ups:When it comes to preventing a winter flare-up of arthritis, family caregiversand home care providers can be proactive. Keeping the environment warm and dry is the first step, followed by helping the aging adult maintain a healthy lifestyle. Good nutrition, regular exercise and restful sleep helps their elderly bodies become more resistant to flare-ups. Preparing for extreme winter conditions can help too, such as helping seniors dress appropriately when they go outside and keeping everything warm and comfortable inside.

With the right support from family caregivers and home care providers, seniors with arthritis have the best chance of resisting the pain and suffering associated with winter flare-ups of arthritis.

If you are considering Caregivers in Wallingford, PA,for your aging parent, please contact the caring staff at Franciscan Ever There Care. Call today 203-630-2881.

Christopher LaRiviere

Christopher LaRiviere is the Executive Director of Franciscan Ever There, a faith based non-profit organization located in Meriden CT.