10 Activities for Seniors with Arthritis

There are several diseases that impact Americans over 65 years of age more than other age groups. Hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis are all conditions that are more common in older adults. Both osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are both frequently diagnosed in seniors and can cause chronic pain. If you feel you may be suffering from undiagnosed arthritis here are a few common symptoms to watch for:

  • Joint swelling
  • Warmth and redness in a joint
  • Joint stiffness
  • Lasting joint pain
  • Problems moving or using a joint normally
  • Pain or tenderness when touching the joint

Once arthritis is diagnosed, it is important for you to understand what may make symptoms worse and how to mitigate the symptoms so you can continue to live a life you enjoy.

Arthritis and Lifestyle

The chronic pain associated with OA and RA can cause sleep disturbances in older adults, as well as limit mobility and reduce daily functioning due to pain and discomfort. The reduced mobility may make it more difficult to participate in activities, meaning the person will often choose to lower his or her activity level. These changes can lead to mental decline and depression because of the loss of independence and the inability to participate in enjoyable activities.

For seniors in a care community, like Monterey Park Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, having access to a team of rehabilitation specialists and a healthy, supportive environment can make a positive difference in their approach to managing their arthritis. At Monterey Park, a personalized care plan is put in place for every resident, helping each person to reach his or her goals and to be able to live the life they want.

No matter where you live, arthritis care can be challenging. Chronic pain is always complicated, but pain brought on by movement makes recovery and strength-building difficult. Luckily, there are low-impact therapeutic activities for seniors with arthritis proven to help manage the symptoms of the disease.

Activities for Seniors with Arthritis

In some cases, there are ways to modify a favorite exercise or activity to accommodate older adults with arthritis. You can make an activity less strenuous, take a low-impact approach or just limit the time you do the activity. Here are a few ideas for activities for seniors with arthritis:

  1. Cooking

If you love to cook, there is no need to give it up because of arthritis. However, it may be time to add some tools to your kitchen routine to make the work less strenuous. Invite family or friends into the kitchen with you to give yourself a social outlet, have a chair or stool ready if you need to sit down while cooking and be sure to understand what is required for a recipe before jumping in.

  1. Gardening

Working with containers and raised beds can help to relieve the pressure of bending over that is usually associated with gardening. Tools with soft grips and long handles can also be helpful to keep you standing up straight. Selecting low-maintenance, high-yield plants can also help you get the most out of your efforts. Consider joining a community garden or planting with friends to add a social aspect to this hobby.

  1. Arts and Crafts

There are so many options for activities for seniors with arthritis that allow you to use your creative side! From scrapbooking to painting, jewelry making to quilting, there are endless mediums to put a smile on your face and keep your days enjoyable. Consider art projects that allow you to experiment with different styles and make sure the tools you select do not put unnecessary strain on your joints.

  1. Yoga

Yoga is an activity that can be low-impact, depending on the program you select. The strength-building and stretching associated with yoga can help arthritis sufferers become more aware of their bodies and learn how to warm up their muscles and joints. Iyengar yoga and Gentle Hatha are good yoga styles to begin with.

  1. Reading and Writing

Writing may be a lifelong passion or a brand-new hobby, but either way, there are many benefits. Journaling is a wonderful way to record memories for future generations and creative writing is an excellent hobby to keep your mind sharp. Consider using talk-to-text software if holding a pencil or typing cause pain. If sitting for long periods is painful, many adults with arthritis listen to audiobooks that can be enjoyed on the go. Reading can also be a social activity – consider joining a book club for engaged discussion about the stories you read.

  1. Dance

While the forms of dance for someone with arthritis might not be the same as for someone in their 20s, dance can be an enjoyable, social, low-impact form of exercise. Understand your limitations and your fall risk, but if dancing is an interest for you, try forms like line dancing or ballroom dancing to get your body moving.

  1. Memory Games

If physical activities are out of reach for you, consider trying brain teasers! Seniors benefit from cognitive stimulation and socialization, so playing games and pushing your brain are great ways to spend your time. Try puzzles with friends, trivia games or board games to get started.

  1. Music

Music is very adaptable, no matter what your limitations. You can enjoy music by playing, listening, singing or experiencing it with friends in social situations. If you want to play, but have arthritis in your hands, chimes and bells may be good instruments for you.

  1. Volunteering

Many seniors wish they had more ways to contribute to their communities. Volunteering is a wonderful way to stay connected to causes close to your heart and to help give each day purpose. Consider contacting a local volunteer agency to find out about available opportunities that work for your physical requirements.

  1. Sports

Arthritis can cause seniors to give up sports after a lifetime of enjoyment. However, arthritis does not mean you can only participate by watching sports on TV. Swimming and other water activities are excellent ways to keep sports low-impact. There are also numerous sports offered on Nintendo Wii, such as golf, tennis and bowling, that allow the player to socialize and enjoy the competitive nature of the sport without the high-impact consequences.

A Lifestyle You Love

At Monterey Park, we understand the crucial role that socialization and lifestyle play in your recovery and rehabilitation. Our care plans are designed with the goals of each resident in mind and our top priority is to help you lead a life that makes you happy. Our team works closely with your family and your primary care physician to help you improve your mobility, your strength and your independence.

Contact us today to schedule a tour and learn more about our services and how we can support you.