5 Ways to Help Your Senior Loved One Manage Pain

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Seniors experience pain for a variety of reasons. Millions live with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, others experience discomfort from another type of autoimmune disease, and some are recovering from injuries or overdue physical activity. Whatever the cause, older adults often take over-the-counter or prescription pain medications. They might also visit a chiropractor or a physical therapist. However, there are different ways family members can help their elderly loved ones manage their pain.

1. Promote Weight Loss

Carrying excess weight puts undue stress on joints, which exacerbates arthritis symptoms. Any movement results in pain. By losing weight, the stress is minimized along with the pain and stiffness. Seniors can begin a weight loss regimen by eating smaller portion sizes and eliminating foods that are high in fat, salt, and sugar. 

In Denton, home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. Serve Anti-Inflammatory Foods

There are many types of food that have anti-inflammatory properties. Serve your loved one fruits and vegetables rich in flavonoids and vitamin C, which reduce inflammation and swelling. Seniors should try to have four or five servings of the following recommended fruits and vegetables each day:

• Apples
• Apricots
• Blueberries
• Citrus fruits
• Grapes
• Pears
• Raspberries
• Strawberries
• Black beans
• Cabbage
• Garlic
• Onions
• Pinto beans
• Tomatoes

Some fruits, vegetables, and nuts are rich in chemical compounds known as proanthocyanidins, which also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics. These foods include:

• Bright red or purple fruits and vegetables
• Kidney and red beans
• Almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and pistachios
• Red wine

Fatty or oily fish contains omega-3 fatty acids along with the compounds DHA and EPA, which are considered protectins and resolvins. These compounds reduce inflammation and enhance cell function. Avocados, walnuts, salmon, shellfish, and olive oil are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Encourage Exercise

A healthy diet combined with increased physical activity may boost weight loss efforts. Exercise also increases balance and flexibility while strengthening muscles. To prevent further injury, seniors must use caution and only exercise or engage in any other physical activity when inflammation and pain symptoms are minimal. Make sure your loved one allows a day of rest between workout sessions so the body has a chance to recover. 

Older adults who need help engaging in physical activities should consider hiring professional home care. Denton respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

4. Consider Over-the-Counter Supplements

Many find relief by taking chondroitin and glucosamine supplements. Glucosamine is the gel-like substance that makes up the cartilage between the joints. Together the supplements interfere and prevent joint cartilage deterioration, which alleviates pain and discomfort for seniors with arthritis. The supplements are available over the counter. However, they should be taken with food to prevent gastrointestinal upset.

5. Try Capsaicin Cream

Topical capsaicin cream or capsaicin patches are made using spicy chili peppers. The over-the-counter preparations inhibit a neuropeptide called substance P and another known as calcitonin. These chemical compounds are some of the neurotransmitters that relay pain impulses and contribute to the inflammatory process. Capsaicin cream is helpful for relieving musculoskeletal discomforts from arthritis, injury, or overuse.

If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Denton home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services. To schedule a free in-home consultation, call us at (972) 468-6010.