Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic form of arthritis that is also an autoimmune disease. It causes a person’s immune system to attack their joints instead of fighting off diseases. When this happens, joints become inflamed and painful. When the inflammation isn’t treated, it can damage cartilage and bones. As time goes on, joints may become unstable and the patient loses some of their mobility. If you’ve recently become a family caregiver to an older adult with RA, here are 5 things you should know.
#1 A Person with RA May Look Fine, but Not Feel Fine
People with RA might look just fine on the surface, but they can be dealing with an RA flare-up that is causing them mild to severe pain. The pain of RA can make it difficult or even impossible to perform the normal tasks of life, like shopping or cleaning the house. Home care can assist seniors with RA by taking care of these tasks, allowing them to help only when they are truly feeling well enough.
#2 People with RA Can Live Long Lives
Although research indicates that RA patients may have a lifespan that is decreased by up to 15 years, many people with RA live into their 80s and 90s. Fatalities in people with RA often occur because of health conditions that happen in conjunction with RA symptoms. About half of RA patients die because of heart disease or other cardiovascular problems that happen because of RA. Knowing this can help caregivers and home care providers for people with RA to keep a closer watch on their heart health.
#3 RA is Different from Other Forms of Arthritis
RA is like other kinds of arthritis in that it causes pain and swelling in the joints, but it is different because of the cause of the joint problem. Because RA is an autoimmune disorder it does not respond as well to lifestyle changes as other kinds of arthritis might. RA requires the use of special medications that treat the autoimmune disorder in addition to the pain of arthritis.
#4 People with RA Often Suffer from Fatigue
89 percent of people with RA also suffer from chronic fatigue. The pain associated with the disease can be exhausting, so it may be hard for seniors with RA to function during flare-ups. Home care can assist on days when the senior feels too tired to do much of anything, allowing them to rest. Home care providers can clean the house, do the laundry, make meals, and run errands.
#5 Having RA Does Not Have to Lead to Life in a Nursing Home
How RA affects people varies from one person to the next. It’s true that some people may have symptoms that are severe enough to cause significant disability. But, today’s treatments for RA are more effective and lots of RA sufferers are able to lead active full lives. About 75 percent of people with RA are able to keep the disease in control through continuous treatment. Even with more severe symptoms, home care can help older adults with RA to live at home safely and comfortably for longer.
If you or an aging loved one is considering Home Care in Loveland, OH, please contact the caring staff at Queen City Elder Care today. Serving Cincinnati and Surrounding Communities. Call Us Today (513) 510-4410.
Michele Vollmer is a visionary leader who is perpetually searching for ways to improve, so to remain at the leading edge of the home care industry.She has served in the healthcare industry since 1989, including pharmaceutical and home health sales, as well as hospice sales and sales management.