October 12-20 is the annual Bone and Joint Action Week; bone and joint issues can be painful, stressful, and debilitating for many older people. Taking charge of bone and joint health and understanding ways to cope with bone and joint issues can make a huge difference in the quality of life for a person at risk or suffering from problems with these parts of the body. Here are some considerations.

Some Facts About Bone and Joint Health

According to the United States Bone and Joint Initiative, “Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide, affecting hundreds of millions of people.” Bone and joint conditions include back pain, arthritis, traumatic injuries, osteoporosis, spinal deformity, and childhood conditions, which are predicted to become more common as life expectancy and other risk factors change. Many musculoskeletal conditions can only be treated, not cured, and often, they become progressively worse over time. It is critical to consult with medical professionals if bone or joint pain becomes an issue to diagnose and seek early intervention.

Taking Action to Deal with Bone and Joint Health

Aside from medication, there are many ways to cope with bone and joint conditions, including:

  • Stay Active: Regular exercise is crucial for maintaining healthy bones and joints. Consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program.
  • Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D should include dairy products, leafy greens, fortified foods, and supplements if necessary
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight puts added stress on the joints, particularly the knees and hips. Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of developing joint problems or exacerbating existing ones.
  • Proper Posture and Body Mechanics: Practicing good posture and using proper body mechanics when lifting or performing daily activities can reduce the risk of strain or injury to the bones and joints.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Older individuals need regular check-ups with healthcare providers. They can monitor bone density and joint health and provide recommendations or treatments as required.
  • Medications and Supplements: If prescribed by a healthcare provider, medications or supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin may help manage joint pain and inflammation. Always follow your healthcare provider’s advice regarding these.
  • Fall Prevention: Falls can be especially harmful to older individuals with fragile bones. Make necessary modifications to your home environment to reduce the risk of falls, such as installing handrails and using non-slip mats.
  • Pain Management: If you’re experiencing joint pain or discomfort, consult with a healthcare provider for appropriate pain management strategies. This may include physical therapy, over-the-counter pain relievers, or prescription medications.
  • Emotional Well-being: Coping with bone and joint issues can be mentally challenging. Seek emotional support from friends, family, or support groups to help manage stress and improve overall well-being.
  • Assistive Devices: If mobility is limited, consider using assistive devices like canes, walkers, or wheelchairs to maintain independence and reduce the risk of falls.
  • Stay Informed: Stay informed about the latest research and treatment options for bone and joint health. Knowledge is a powerful tool in managing these conditions.

Be Strategic and Proactive About Getting Help

When bone and joint conditions begin to impact ordinary activities of daily living, it is essential to work on ways to minimize the impact on your quality of life. In addition to fall prevention for older adults living at home, many issues can interfere with safety and comfort. From something as simple as opening a child-proof medication bottle to lifting heavier cookware in the kitchen, bone and joint pain can interfere with ordinary activities. If this is the case, it is a good idea to consider getting in-home assistance designed to alleviate these challenges. It can be as simple as assistance with cooking, shipping, and medications or more comprehensive full-time care if mobility and capacity are significantly diminished.

CarePlus has been delivering various services to the Montgomery County area for people who want enough help to manage their challenges due to aging or medical conditions without sacrificing their independence and comfort. Our Flex Care program and other Home Care services offer a critical measure of safety, attention, and peace of mind to older people living with bone and joint issues. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.