How Assisted Living Can Help Manage Osteoarthritis & Spinal Stenosis
Almost any doctor will tell you that movement is crucial to maintaining good health and optimal well-being. However, as we age, we start facing health challenges that begin to impact our mobility.
Osteoarthritis is a prime culprit affecting older people’s ability to move and stay independent. As the number one serious disease affecting seniors and the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects more than 32.5 million Americans.
Spinal stenosis is another condition affecting older people. It can ultimately limit mobility and, like osteoarthritis, lead to other severe health conditions.
As a Senior Living Advisor (Mike McClernon, 516-254-9481), I’ve seen first-hand how both diseases can limit one’s enjoyment of life. It also has a devastating effect on families who have to watch their elderly loved ones suffer through the pain, reduced ability, and diminished quality of life associated with these conditions.
The good news is that people with spinal stenosis or osteoarthritis can improve their independence and have better days with the services available in Assisted Living.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease generally associated with aging. It affects the entire joint, including the bone, cartilage, ligaments, fat, and the surrounding tissues.
The disease can affect any joint, but typically it’s found in the hands, knees, hips, lower back, and neck. It can degrade cartilage and change the shape of the bone, causing inflammation, stiffness, pain, and loss of mobility.
Currently, there is no cure for osteoarthritis, but there are ways to manage the condition. Doctors may prescribe medication or, in severe cases, surgery to treat the symptoms. However, in most cases, it’s up to the patient to practice self-care.
Most self-care routines involve lifestyle changes such as managing/losing weight to minimize stress on the joints, getting proper exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and using assistive devices to safely move around and avoid falls.
What is spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a condition that most often develops in the neck and lower back. It occurs when the space inside the backbone is too small, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that travel through the spine. The condition can also be caused by wear-and-tear changes in the spine related to arthritis.
Many people may experience pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness which can worsen over time. Depending on which part of the spine is affected, the person may feel no symptoms at all.
When the condition strikes the lower back, the person may feel pain or cramping in one or both legs, especially if they’ve been standing for a long time or walking. When centralized in the neck, spinal stenosis can cause numbness, neck pain, trouble walking or keeping balance, tingling or weakness in a hand, leg, foot, or arm, or problems with the bowel or bladder.
Both diseases can severely reduce mobility, independence, and the affected person’s health. If not properly managed, they can also lead to other severe conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and stroke.
How Assisted Living can help manage osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis
Assisted Living communities are created to help older people maintain as much independence as possible. With a team of professional caregivers, therapists, and medical staff, your loved one will have a customized treatment plan to help them manage their condition and all the support they need from the community team
Here are some of the ways that Assisted Living can help people with osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis:
Customized meal plan
Assisted Living communities employ professional chefs who create menus filled with nutritious meal options. They will work with your family, doctor, or nutritionist to create a customized menu to help your loved one better manage their overall health. For example, they can avoid serving the person food with high glucose levels, as they can make cartilage stiffer and more likely to break down. Since weight gain often results from these conditions, making symptoms worse, your loved one will be served meals promoting weight control.
Therapy that increases strength and range of motion
The person may also participate in treatments that help strengthen muscles that support the joints and increase their range of motion. This can include gentle stretching, raising and lowering legs from a standing or seated position, daily walks, balance exercises, and more. Residents are encouraged to listen to their bodies and stop if they begin to feel pain.
Opportunities for relaxation
Residents are given plenty of time for relaxation and mindfulness every day through fun activities with friends, enjoying family visits, or quiet time listening to music or reading a book. Avoiding stress and taking opportunities to recharge are paramount to proper health management and optimal well-being.
Assistance with ADLs
Sometimes, people with mobility issues cannot independently handle Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). ADLs include such daily tasks as washing, dressing, grooming, brushing hair and teeth, and more. Assisted Living communities offer help with ADLs, so the resident can always feel clean and comfortable throughout the day.
Osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis are debilitating diseases that can dramatically impact your loved one’s happiness and quality of life. However, it’s important to remember that your family doesn’t have to go through it alone. With the support available in Assisted Living communities, the older person in your life can regain an optimal level of independence with a team of eldercare professionals by their side every step of the way.
No-cost help finding Assisted Living on Long Island
Finding an Assisted Living community where your elderly loved one will get the care they need to feel happy, fulfilled, and safe can be overwhelming. When looking for the right community for your elderly relatives on Long Island, contact Mike McClernon of Assisted Living Locators.
Mike has collaborated with hundreds of families just like yours to help find the most appropriate Assisted Living community for their older relatives. He will ensure that you have all the information you need to decide where your loved ones will thrive and be well-cared for during their vintage years.
Contact Mike today at 516-254-9481 or email@example.com to explore Senior Living Community options for the older person in your life. His phone is always on!