When Do You Help an Arthritic Parent?

There are more than 100 types of arthritis and around 60 million adults have some type of this inflammatory condition. It’s a prevalent chronic health condition that can make it hard to complete some tasks each day. Your mom has arthritis. After menopause, the pain in her shoulders became excruciating. While her doctor said it’s normal and caused by inflammation in the joint, she has a hard time with tasks that require her to lift her arms over her head. How do you know when it’s time for you or an elder care provider to step in and help her?


Elder Care in Gardendale AL: Arthritis Care

Elder Care in Gardendale AL: Arthritis Care

What Isn’t Getting Done?

Go through her home on your next visit and pay attention to the things that aren’t getting done. You’re in the bathroom and notice the only bulbs that illuminate the bathroom are the ones on the vanity. Overhead lights are out.

If she can’t reach over her head to change a lightbulb, she needs someone who can. If she’s not able to dust ceiling fan blades, make sure someone stops by often enough to help out.

You may not think of arthritis making it hard to cook meals and prepare snacks, but it can be very hard to lift a heavier pot from a stovetop or oven. If arthritis affects the joints in the fingers and wrist, chopping and slicing meats and vegetables is challenging.

Is the housework completed or are there clear signs that your mom is struggling? If her laundry is overflowing the hamper, find out why. She may not have had time, but it is likely that she can’t carry the hamper up and down stairs anymore.

See if she has changed her sheets lately or if making a bed is too much. Can she vacuum the stairs, mop floors, and clean around smaller items like faucet handles or door knobs?

How Much Do Pain Medications Help?

With osteoarthritis, the inflammation in the joints is usually managed with over-the-counter pain medications and exercise. How much does that help ease the pain and improve mobility for your mom?

She may need to walk around for a minute or two to loosen the joints after she’s been sitting or has just gotten out of bed. Once she’s up and her joints are looser, how much more can she do once her pain medication is working? Take notes of what she still can’t do.

What If You’re Not Available to Help?

Use all of your notes and observations to figure out where your mom most needs help each week. Do what you can to help her.

What do you do if you don’t live nearby or have to work full-time? Your mom can have the support she needs with some of her daily activities. Hire an elder care aide to help your mom with personal care or companionship. An elder care advisor can help you get started.


If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional Elder Care in Gardendale, AL, call and talk to the staff at Lipford Home Care (205) 623-5700.