It can be a vicious cycle: the chronic aches of arthritis elevate amounts of anxiety and stress, which in turn can actually exacerbate arthritis pain. If deliberate steps are not taken to break the pattern and reinstate a sense of calm and wellbeing, arthritic symptoms could continue to worsen, along with a number of other physical health conditions.
Hearts at Home helps older adults with arthritis, and other conditions of aging, to enhance quality of life through hands-on help and support with care in addition to encouragement to participate in fulfilling activities, including those to help relax and reduce stress. Several of our favorite suggestions include the following:
- Exercising. There is absolutely nothing better to lower anxiety than to get your heart rate up through active movement, which produces soothing endorphins. Exercise is also critical for older adults with arthritis to strengthen muscles and joints, and keep weight within a healthy range. The doctor should be consulted before beginning any exercise routine, but with his/her consent, effective options to try include swimming, yoga, Tai Chi, dancing, or riding a stationary bike, just to name several.
- Breathing. Simple deep breathing techniques can work wonders in enabling us to relax, and are especially advantageous after exercising. Take a few minutes to sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, breathe in as you count to five, breathe out to the count of five, and repeat.
- Sharing. Speaking with a reliable counselor, clergy member, friend/family member, or one of Hearts at Home’s compassionate caregivers is a wonderful way to let go of anxious thoughts in a safe setting. Or if discussing personal concerns is difficult, writing in a journal or diary can be beneficial as well. Rather than looking for a solution, the objective should be to simply be heard and understood.
Hearts at Home of Kansas City is available to help older adults minimize stress and anxiety, better manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, and enjoy a higher quality of life. Sometimes simply having a caring companion by your side makes all the difference between a great day and a so-so day.
Our trained, experienced care providers love spending time with seniors, whether that includes playing a favorite card game, going for a walk around the neighborhood, looking through photo albums and reminiscing, or providing transportation and accompaniment to participate in fun activities in the community. We help make life more comfortable as well, through personal care services, light housework and laundry, meal preparation, and more.