Arthritis. It’s a common problem for older adults. So common, in fact, that many people feel like they know quite a bit about it. While that’s probably true for some people, some family caregivers may not be as familiar with arthritis. Knowing some facts about the condition can help you to feel more confident and comfortable about being a family caregiver to an older adult with arthritis.
Below are some interesting and useful facts about arthritis.
Arthritis is Common and Costly
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 54 million people in the United States have some kind of arthritis. That’s about 23 percent of American adults. The Arthritis Foundation says that by the year 2040, there will be more than 78 million people with arthritis. Each year, arthritis costs about $140 billion in direct medical costs. In fact, arthritis is believed to be one of the five most expensive medical conditions in adults.
Osteoarthritis is the Most Common Kind of Arthritis
Osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear-and-tear on joints, is the most common kind of arthritis. It affects 27 million people in the United States. The disease is usually caused by aging but can also be caused by injury to a joint.
Arthritis Often Occurs with Other Medical Problems
Many people who have arthritis also have other medical problems. According to the Arthritis Foundation, of those who have arthritis:
- 49 percent have heart disease.
- 47 percent have diabetes.
- 31 percent are obese.
There is No Cure for Arthritis
Arthritis is a chronic condition with no cure. However, there are treatments available that can help to reduce arthritis pain. The treatment the doctor suggests will depend on the kind of arthritis the senior has. In addition, there are many things that can be done at home, such as losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and using heat or cold to relieve pain.
Elderly Care Can Help Seniors with Arthritis
Many people think of elderly care as being only for very seriously ill people, like people who have had a stroke or who have cancer. However, seniors with arthritis can benefit from elderly care, too. Arthritis can make doing certain tasks very difficult. Elderly care providers can help with things like fastening clothing, opening cans, and writing. In addition, an elderly care provider can help an older adult with mobility problems due to arthritis to walk safely around the house and when they are in public.