Arthritis is a term that refers to around 100 different conditions that affect the joints or connective tissues and cause pain. The hand is comprised of 27 bones. Wherever one bone meets another, there is a joint. In addition, the hand contains a number of ligaments and tendons. With so many bones and so much connective tissue, it’s not surprising that many people are affected by arthritis in the hands. When arthritis in the hands goes untreated it can cause changes in the shapes of the bones at the joint, which causes more pain and makes movement even more difficult.
One in five adults is affected by some form of arthritis. Because arthritis becomes more common as people grow older, many senior citizens who are receiving senior care in their homes are likely to have arthritis. If your parent suffers from arthritis of the hands or wrists, performing normally simple daily tasks like dressing, opening containers, or even handling silverware can be difficult or painful. Fortunately, in addition to seeking medical care, there are some things that can be done at home to help ease your parent’s arthritis pain and make tasks easier.
Adaptive Hand Tools
There are lots of adaptive devices that are designed to make everyday tasks easier for people who have hand pain or whose hand strength is compromised. An occupational therapist can suggest tools that will help your parent. Some of the tools that are available are:
- Foam handles that can be attached to toothbrushes or silverware.
- Pin tools that make using a house key easier.
- Kitchen tools, like vegetable peelers, with thicker handles for more comfortable use.
- Pens that reduce strain on hand joints.
- Kitchen knives that are designed to work like saws.
- Jar openers.
- Tools for buttoning clothing.
- Levers that can be attached to doorknobs to make them easier to open.
Cold and Hot Packs
Cold packs can be helpful when your parent’s joints are swollen. The cold will help reduce the inflammation and numb the pain. Hot packs should be used for aching joints when no inflammation is present.
Changing the Way Things are Held
Making some simple changes to the way your parent holds things could help reduce hand pain. For example, holding a book with the hands flat behind the cover instead of gripping the edges is easier on the finger joints. Also, using a purse that is carried using a cross-body strap rather than a purse that is carried in the hand can help.
If your parent’s ability to perform daily tasks is hampered by arthritis in the hands, hiring a senior care provider through an agency can help. A senior care provider can help your parent with tasks like dressing, cooking, light housework, and more. When the pressure of performing the jobs that make hand pain worse is removed, your parent can spend more pain-free time doing the things they enjoy.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Colts Neck, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Lares Home Care 888-492-3538 or 732-566-1112.