Dec 22, 2017 by Kristina Butler
The holiday season brings many stressors for most Americans, but seniors with arthritis face an additional number of issues that increase anxiety. In many places around the country, the holiday season brings with it a temperature drop, a change in barometric pressure, and increases in precipitation. These events have been linked to increases in arthritis pain and discomfort. Comfort Keepers West Chester encourages seniors to consider the following information to help avoid or reduce holiday stress.
Changing temperatures can create great stress for seniors traveling during the holidays. A study published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders noted that over two-thirds of seniors with arthritis were sensitive to changes in the weather. This was true for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, the two major forms of this disease. While seniors report discomfort associated with the changing weather, most pain is linked to colder, wetter weather. If temperature changes are likely, seniors should consider packing and dressing in warm layers. They may also want to bring along heat packs for the hands and feet. They are inexpensive and provide instant warmth in colder weather. Many are even reusable.
A lack of vitamin D is known to impact a senior's moods and stress levels, but it can play an extra role if the senior has arthritis. Many studies link vitamin D levels to arthritis pain. Dr. Carolyn Dean of Hawaii's Nutritional Magnesium Association notes, "75 percent of American teens and adults don't get enough vitamin D, and... Vitamin D may affect arthritis pain by affecting the joints directly or by interacting with the immune system." Since vitamin D is produced by the body when exposed to direct sunlight, the body produces less of this essential nutrient in the cold, dark, winter months when sunlight is reduced, and people spend more time indoors. Seniors, especially those with arthritis, should consider a vitamin D supplement. Increased dosages should also be considered if the senior will be exposed to less sunlight during the holidays.
Seniors with arthritis may also worry about traveling. It is hard enough to traverse enormous airports, shuttle services, and other transportation when one is feeling great. When movement is limited and painful, even the thought of a trip can be overwhelming. Planning for these contingencies well in advance can really pay off. Most airports have courtesy shuttles and even wheelchairs available for seniors who need mobility assistance. Many can be arranged in advance while others need to be called for from the gate. At times, courtesy shuttles can even help seniors avoid lines by taking alternate routes in the airport. Pre-arranged courtesy shuttles to hotels and other locations can also be helpful. To maximize service and reduce the stress of travel, seniors should not be shy about mentioning that they have mobility restrictions when planning each stage of their journey.
If company will be joining the senior at their home, Comfort Keepers West Chester can help the senior prepare the house for their guests. They can also help the senior address concerns they may have about their physical health. Worrying about the way arthritis pain can impact holiday festivities can create a lot of stress. Caregivers can help your senior loved one prepare to be at their best.
In short, there are many causes of holiday stress. For seniors, health challenges often rank toward the top of the list. With proper planning and care, seniors can manage their holiday stress levels, and Comfort Keepers West Chester will be right there by their side to help. For more information about holiday stress, stress management, or the many ways Comfort Keepers in-home care can help your senior loved one maximize the quality of their elder years, contact a senior home care coordinator today.
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