Arthritis Tips for Elderly Care

elderly care

Did you know May is Arthritis Action Month?

In this article, we will discuss some tips for managing daily household tasks for those with arthritis and some caregiving tips for those who are elderly care providers with arthritis.

Cleaning Around the House

  1. Clean only one room a day to avoid overexertion.
  2. Vacuum heavy-traffic areas only for a quick freshen up.
  3. Choose the proper cleaning supplies by looking for easy to handle packaging like lighter concentrated laundry detergents or microfiber cleaning cloths.
  4. Keep cleaning supplies on every floor of your house to avoid lugging them up an down stairs.  You'll only have to shop for them 1/2 as often, too.
  5. Clean spills when they’re fresh and easier to wipe up.
  6. Once you apply a cleaning solution, let it attack the stain for a few minutes, then come back to wipe up.
  7. Freshen items like pillows and blankets in the dryer.  Toss in a fabric softener sheet to eliminate odors.
  8. Dust high and low places without bending and stretching by attaching a microfiber dust cloth or Swiffer to a gift-wrap tube.
  9. Use a wooden pizza paddle to help you tuck in sheets and blankets.
  10. To make making your bed easier, get a large, lightweight bedspread or comforter that can be draped easily over your sheets.  Simply smooth your sheets and throw the comforter over them.
  11. When cleaning house, give up that hard-to-grip dust rag. Instead, wear an old pair of socks or gloves on your hands for dusting.
  12. Use a Swiffer cloth as a dust rag. These little guys do an amazing job of picking up and holding dust so you don't have to be as deliberate in your movements.


 Being an elderly care provider with Arthritis

  1. Being an elderly care provider can be exhausting.   And being tired can aggravate arthritis.  Try these natural energy boosts:
    • A good night’s sleep should top your list. Skip late-night TV, lower your bedroom temperature and make the room as dark as you can.
    • Make healthy eating a priority.  Many pre-packaged foods often cause a blood sugar spike that can actually lowers your energy level.
    • Be sure to carve out a few minutes each day for exercise.
  2. There is always more to do!  Focus on what’s truly important, and be honest with yourself about your limitations. Talk to the person for whom you are providing elderly care about your arthritis and physical limitations so she understands what you can and can’t do.   While it is tempting to tackle the easiest tasks first, it’s better to choose what absolutely must get done before you run out of energy.
  3. Caregiving can be depressing to some so try to give yourself some downtime, and focus on the positive. It’s crucial to give your brain and body a chance to recharge. Even a few minutes of listening to music in the car or calling a friend when you’re out getting groceries is better than nothing.
  4. As a elderly care  provider, you are likely on your feet more and may be lifting more.  These things will aggravate your arthritis.  So, get more help from the person you’re caring for. Have her do as much as she can, even if she can’t do it as well as you can or it takes longer.  The currently popular concept of person-centered care encourages having the elderly care patient do as much as possible for themselves to maintain dignity and a sense of purpose and control.
  5. Many elderly care providers take on tasks that aren't safe for them, for example, bathing someone who can't stand on his/her own.  Get a second opinion... make a list of the care tasks you perform and have a nurse, doctor, or friend who works in a medical profession look at the list and give you some feedback.  And don't be afraid to get some help.  You don't have to do it alone!

For even more tips, visit the Arthritis Foundations page on Everyday Solutions for Living with Arthritis.  And for more about Arthritis in general, see their Preventing and Managing Arthritis page.

You can also learn more from our elderly care article on Back Pain and Arthritis .