A recent study found that the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, currently affects 15 per cent of the global population over the age of 30. However, by 2050 as many as a billion people worldwide are expected to have this condition.
The study was published by The Lancet Rheumatology and analysed 30 years of medical data from 1990-2020, across more than 200 countries. With people living longer as well as global population growth, there is a recognition that the prevalence of conditions like arthritis which increase with age, will naturally be greater.
The research found that for people aged over 70, osteoarthritis ranked seventh among causes of living with a disability. As well as ageing and population growth, the increasing rate in obesity is another contributing factor to osteoarthritis, a condition which causes joints to become painful and stiff, in particular, the hips and knees but also the shoulder, elbow and hand and wrist joints too.
Health systems across the globe have been forewarned by such studies, as they will need to recognise that demand for treatment such as joint replacements will likely continue to increase and therefore prevention and early intervention are key. As indeed will be the need for all of us to take care of our joints and endeavour to keep them as healthy as possible well into our senior years.
Therefore, recognising that the condition and its possible treatments, such as joint replacements, are likely to be an issue in the future for so many Canadians, more and more individuals are preparing for a time when arthritis may affect us or our loved ones. Perhaps it is prudent to ensure that as we age, our homes are arthritis-friendly. Here are five possible ways to make it happen:
Start with the floor
Avoid trips and falls, which can pose a huge risk to older people, by ensuring non-slip flooring is used. Low pile carpet, which is dense and durable, is one solution for doing so. Non-slip vinyl floors are another good option. Polished wood flooring can get wet and pose a threat of a fall for seniors.
Make the bathroom safe
Some homeowners may already looking to replace their bathroom with getting older in mind and a walk-in bathtub or shower with a seated area is an excellent choice. Beyond this there are several other low-cost but hugely sensible adjustments that can be made like grip bars near the tub and the toilet, non-slip mats or strips in the bath, as well as proper lighting.
Grab some useful gadgets
Looking for ways to reduce the strain on one’s joints is always a sensible idea. Perhaps it is time to replace the hand mixer when baking with a stand mixer, or even a combined food processor to avoid the chopping when cooking too. The kitchen is one of the rooms where we often start to experience more strain as we age. Even pots and pans can become a lot heavier and more uncomfortable to lift, so investing in some lightweight ones may do the trick.
Get the right furniture
It is much harder to get out of a chair when it is a low, squashy couch, so as much as it might be comfy once sitting, it is far more important to take care of the hip and knee joints in the longer term. A recliner, for example, might be a better option that could still provide plenty of comfort to relax in. Similarly, if a bed is too high or low it can make getting out of it in the morning painful or nigh on impossible. For arthritis sufferers, a bed that can rise or recline at the touch of a button can be an absolute dream.
Look into a home lift
If tackling the stairs starts to become an issue every day, then it may be worth considering a home elevator. A residential elevator allows the user to move effortlessly and independently around the home at the touch of a button. Elevators are also useful for lifting and carrying tasks that might place strain on the joints. They are also useful for sending the full laundry basket downstairs in a lift, rather than struggling around the home with it hurting one’s wrists.