It’s no secret that, as we age, our joints start to feel a little worse for wear. From general use to arthritis, the causes behind joint problems are numerous. And while the degree to which seniors’ joints ache varies depending on the person, there’s one thing we can all agree on: joint pain can, unfortunately, begin to inhibit a person’s ability to do everyday activities and chores, much less hobbies they once loved.
The good news is that there are several things seniors can do to improve their joint health and improve their quality of life.
How to Improve Seniors’ Joint Health
Think of your body as a machine — if it stays immobile for too long, the connective areas can tense up and be hard to move later on. In the same way, if your elderly loved one has a relatively sedentary lifestyle, their joints can begin to stiffen up, making even the simplest of tasks difficult to perform.
For this reason, it’s essential that your elderly loved ones stay active and exercise several times per week. If they’re just starting out improving their physical activity levels, it’s often best to do low-impact exercises such as:
- Tai Chi
In conjunction with low-impact exercises, seniors may also want to try core-strengthening exercises, such as yoga or pilates, as these can help develop strong abdomen muscles that can help protect the neck, back, and knee joints.
Keeping Seniors Safe When Exercising
It’s important to consult your senior’s doctor before partaking in any new exercises in order to avoid any health risk or potential injury. Additionally, when doing more physical activities, such as running or rollerblading, it may be wise to have your seniors wear knee and/or elbow pads to cushion any potential falls. Seniors should also take 15 minutes or so before beginning their exercise to warm up their muscles and loosen joints.
Most importantly, prevent over-exercising. Everyone’s fitness journey and ability levels are different, so exercising too much too quickly can actually put more strain on a senior’s joint and put them at risk of injury.
Maintain a Healthy Weight and Diet
Those who have a higher body mass put themselves at risk of joint pain and discomfort. This is because the extra weight adds pressure to the joints that they are not originally meant to support.
In order to relieve or prevent this type of pressure, it’s essential to maintain a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise. Make sure your elderly loved ones eat plenty of fiber-rich foods, fruits, and veggies — especially dark leafy greens.
In addition to foods rich in fiber and antioxidants, there are also several foods that have natural anti-inflammatory properties, like certain types of fish such as tuna and salmon. Seniors may also benefit from taking vitamins or supplements, such as vitamin D or Calcium, that provide their daily nutritional values as well.
A good diet combined with regular exercise (as mentioned above) can healthy seniors lose weight, if necessary, and maintain an overall healthier body mass. Just remember to speak to your loved one’s doctor before making any changes to their diet or exercise regimens.
Accept Professional Treatment
While your elderly loved one may try to manage their joint pain with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or pain medications, this method only does so much before it simply becomes a habit of taking pills.
If your loved one is experiencing painful or debilitating joint issues, it may be best to talk to their doctor and see what can be done to help them. Their doctor may suggest physical therapy, surgery, or other treatment options that can help improve your senior’s joint health and give them a better quality of life.
At Homewatch CareGivers of West Los Angeles, we were founded on the idea that individuals should receive kind, compassionate, and qualified care tailored to their unique needs and in their preferred surroundings. Because of that, we train our professionals not just on high-quality care but on interpersonal relationships as well.
Contact us today to learn more.