May is Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention month as well as Arthritis Awareness month. Both conditions have similarities and differences, Pegasus Home Health Care can help you unravel the puzzle of these two illnesses.
What Is Osteoporosis?
Bones are living tissue that constantly deteriorates and regenerates. Osteoporosis results when the regeneration slows and the bones become weak and porous. The condition worsens over time, and there is no cure.
The weakened bones fracture easily. In the worst cases, a sneeze or a cough causes broken bones.
Any bone can break, but most fractures are in the hips and spine. Osteoporosis is crippling, as well as painful. Quality of life for its victims can be significantly impaired.
Seniors fear that any movement will lead to more broken bones. The National Osteoporosis Foundation says that approximately twenty percent of elderly patients who have suffered a broken hip will die from either issues with surgery or complications stemming from the broken bone. Patients may require long term care after breaking a hip. This illustrates the serious outcome of osteoporosis.
Home Health Care Helps Seniors With Osteoporosis
It doesn’t have to be this way. Home health care can keep a senior with osteoporosis out of a facility. Professional assistance minimizes the frequency and severity of falls and broken bones.
Health care professionals are trained in fall prevention methods, including but not limited to:
- Removing throw rugs
- Installing grab bars
- Keeping areas well lit
They also ensure that clients wear shoes, as walking barefoot or in socks are a cause of slipping and falling.
The progress of osteoporosis can be slowed by:
- Appropriate exercises
- Good nutrition
- Healthy lifestyle habits
A health care professional is knowledgeable and will help a client achieve reasonable goals.
Movement at any age strengthens bones. Home health professionals support and guide their clients in gentle exercises. The exercises are designed to improve balance and strength.
Diets rich in minerals like calcium and vitamins such as Vitamin D help keep bones strong. Home health aides can plan and prepare nutritious meals. They can incorporate a client’s favorite foods in their meal plans despite dietary restrictions.
Many elders have smoked all their life. Despite what their doctors have said about smoking worsening their osteoporosis, quitting is difficult. Home health care professionals can encourage and assist their clients in their smoking cessation efforts.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a catch-all term for a variety of joint aches and pains. Medically, there are more than a hundred kinds of arthritis-related conditions. According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis has become so prevalent, it has become a leading cause of disability.
Arthritis differs from osteoporosis in that it affects joints rather than bones. The cartilage in joints and nearby tissue becomes inflamed or deteriorates. Most movement results in pain.
Although movement hurts, it’s one of the best ways to relieve arthritic pain and stiffness. Elders often need help to get up from a chair and support when walking. They lose the ability to care for themselves adequately as the disease progresses.
Home Health Care Helps Seniors With Arthritis
Arthritis is treated with:
- Medication, especially to control pain
- Physical therapy
Home health care professionals receive training on managing their client’s pain and increasing mobility.
Nutritional help is important for most clients. Some foods increase pain and inflammation, and a professional is able to observe which ones cause flare-ups in a client. The diet can then be adjusted.
For example, problem foods include:
- Meats and other animal products
- Refined sugar
- Nightshades, which include potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes
Many of these foods are favorites, and it requires skill to satisfactorily modify dietary habits.
Additionally, clients that are overweight need encouragement to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Slimming down when necessary not only relieves stress on a person’s joints, they enjoy increased mobility.
Comprehensive Health Care at Home
Although health care professionals can administer and monitor pain medication, they are also experienced with non-pharmaceutical pain management. They teach their clients ways of moving and balancing that minimize pain. They help clients ration their energy and avoid fatigue as a way of relieving pain.
Osteoporosis and arthritis both lead to isolation and depression for seniors. Research indicates that “Around 6.6% of adults with arthritis report severe psychological distress.” The companionship and assistance provided by home health care can improve the emotional health of clients.
An experienced professional discreetly observes changes in a client’s abilities and actions. Their knowledge and observations allow them to institute measures to slow down or prevent further incapacity.
Home health care experts can also determine if clients have more than one problem. For example, did the client fall due to balance problems or poor vision. They know the appropriate steps to take to alleviate each condition and reduce the number of falls.
Home health services include counseling for clients and their families. They make sure that family caregivers understand the needs of the client. They teach caregivers how to safely provide assistance.
Disability due to osteoporosis or arthritis doesn’t mean that seniors must be confined to care facilities. Being disabled doesn’t have to stop individuals from having happy and otherwise healthy lives. Home health care supports the desire of elders to live as independently as possible at home despite their physical condition.
If you have a loved one or know someone suffering from Osteoporosis or Arthritis, our team at Pegasus Home Health Care can help. Contact us for additional information.