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Living Well With Arthritis: The Benefits of Home Health

Living Well With Arthritis: The Benefits of Home Health

Over the past year, so much about our daily lives has changed. From the way we shop to the way we socialize, work, and stay healthy. Older people have been especially impacted by the extended periods of isolation or confinement at home. For example, older people who typically get exercise by walking in malls, grocery stores, or other public places, have not been able to maintain their routines. Over time, this can have negative consequences for their mobility, strength, flexibility, and overall quality of life.

Movement and regular activity can be especially beneficial for people with arthritis, a condition that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates affects 22.7% of the population of the United States. While there is no cure for arthritis, the condition can be managed through treatment, exercise, and rehabilitation.

Arthritis can result in stiff joints and weak muscles. If you have arthritis and can improve your muscle strength through exercise, your muscles will be better able to support your joints which can help decrease your pain. By working with a physical therapist and occupational therapist, individuals with arthritis can improve their ability to move their joints, which can make a big impact on their ability to do things like get up from a low chair or open a can of soup. These experts in movement will lead you through a series of joint-friendly, low-impact exercises. The goal of these exercises is to work on flexibility by stretching to improve mobility, strength, by performing resistive exercises for stronger muscles, and aerobic exercise to help increase endurance. Being physically active can also delay the onset of arthritis-related disability and help people with arthritis manage other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

The CDC reports that just about every second, an older adult falls, resulting in over 36 million falls yearly and almost 1milion hospitalizations, many of which are preventable. Arthritis increases your risk of falling because weak muscles and stiff joints affect your balance and posture. Working with a physical therapist or occupational therapist can help to improve your posture which in turn can relieve pain, improve balance, and reduce fall risks. Your therapist may take treatment one step further by making recommendations for equipment that can enable you to get around more easily and safely, live with less pain and enjoy more independence with activities of daily living.

Home Health therapists in particular can have a hugely positive impact on your quality of life. They have a unique opportunity to assess your needs in your home environment. They are able to truly connect and work with you one-on-one, and provide treatment that is customized to your needs and the specific challenges presented by your diagnosis and home environment. Home Health therapists will conduct an assessment in the home and make recommendations for practical solutions to improve safety, ease of mobility, and independence in your own home. It could be something as simple as pulling up throw rugs, improving lighting, decreasing clutter on the floor, securing extension cords and plugs, or opening up walking spaces. If you are living with arthritis, consider making physical activity and therapy a part of your plan for living well.

Lisa Mortimer, PT, DPT, is an experienced therapist working with patients at Allied Services Home Health.

Find support at Allied Services Home Health at 570-348-2200.