Staying Active With Friends, Family and Your Community: Knowing Where to Look

Staying Put at Home Tips for Senior HealthAs we get older, it’s common to lead a more solitary life. In fact, over 11 million men and women above the age of 65 who do not live in a care facility live alone.1 Furthermore, the rate of loneliness has gone up in the United States, with 40 percent of seniors saying they feel lonely.2 If you are Aging in Place, then you might not have the community of an assisted living facility to rely on. Isolation may not only make you feel lonely, but it can also affect your health, as those who identified as lonely were 59 percent more likely to have functional decline in daily activities compared to their non-lonely peers.3 In this post, Staying Put at Home considers what you can do to stay up-to-date with your friends and social network while also forming new friendships within your community.

How to Connect With Loved Ones and Stay Active in Your Community

Loneliness doesn’t need to affect your health or your daily life. Here are just a few ways you can connect with your community and nurture existing relationships:

  • Seniors can use Skype, FaceTime or other video chat software to talk with long-distance friends and loved ones. While it is not exactly the same as having your friend in the living room with you, it is a step up from talking on the phone.
  • Connect with friends and family on social media. Studies show that using social media websites foster connectivity and community.4 By using Facebook or Twitter, seniors can check-in on friends and loved ones.
  • Look into classes at your local college or university. Many colleges allow older adults to audit classes for free or at a discounted rate. This can let you develop relationships with people across a broad age range, exposing you to new perspectives you might not find otherwise. Not only can you meet new people, but you can develop new skills and stay sharp by challenging yourself.
  • Visit your local senior center. These facilities usually have group activities, exercise programs and classes that can introduce you to other seniors in your area. You might even develop a new hobby and make some new friends. Most community and senior centers offer helpful computer and social media classes.
  • Research senior networks in your area. For example, Pasadena, CA has the Senior Care Network, which offers programs and classes for seniors and helps coordinate care and service delivery.5 Not only is this a convenient method to get care, but it can be a great way to meet others who are in a similar living situation.
  • Volunteer, if you are able. If there is a cause or organization that you are especially interested in, then volunteering can help give you a feeling of accomplishment. It can also introduce you to people with similar interests, which can foster new relationships.
  • Sign up for Meals on Wheels. Even if you don’t need the meal, the group will send someone to your home on a routine basis who can check up on you.
  • Adopt a pet or visit an animal. Therapy animals have been shown to help seniors feel relaxed, lift moods, ward off heart disease and lower health care costs.6 While it isn’t realistic for many seniors to take care of an animal, many communities offer programs that help seniors connect with animals. One example is Pets for the Elderly. Caring for a pet can also give a senior a sense of purpose, which can combat depression.

Always remember that you have options when it comes to building and maintaining relationships. We hope that our look into the potential solutions to senior loneliness helps. If you have your own suggestions, then please share with the Staying Put at Home community in the comments section.

1. Fighting Senior Isolation? You’re Not Alone | Return to Text
2. When Being Alone Turns to Loneliness, There are Ways to Fight Back | Return to Text
3. How to End the Senior Loneliness Epidemic | Return to Text
4. Does Posting Online Facebook Status Updates Increase or Decrease Loneliness? | Return to Text
5. About Huntington Hospital Senior Care Network | Return to Text
6. Pet Therapy and the Benefits of Pets in Senior Living | Return to Text

FACT or FICTION: Joint Pain & Rheumatoid Arthritis

 Staying Put at Home Tips for Pain ReliefThere’s so much information and hearsay out there about joint pain and arthritis that it can often become confusing or contradictory. This means that people can often be misled and as a result follow the wrong advice, perhaps making the joint pain worse in the process. For this post, Staying Put at Home looks at the facts and fictions of joint pain and arthritis, and what treatments are available to alleviate and reduce discomfort.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Only Affects Seniors: Fiction
While the risk of arthritis increases with age, arthritis can begin at any time.1 The average age of onset for rheumatoid arthritis is 40.2 It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of arthritis, like morning stiffness, joint swelling and a decreased range of motion. If you can catch these symptoms early on, then doctors will be able to prescribe the necessary medication to help relieve pain.

Joint Pain Must Be Arthritis: Fiction
While there are more than 100 forms of arthritis (the most prevalent being osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis), having joint pain is not the same as having an arthritic condition. Sometimes, that ache can be a soft tissue injury, bursitis or tendinitis.

Cracking Your Knuckles Causes Arthritis: Fiction
It’s an idea that you have been told countless times since you were a child: If you crack your knuckles, then you will eventually develop arthritis. However, there are no studies that corroborate these assertions.3 However, knuckle cracking has been linked to a weaker grip and swollen hands, so it might be time to let this habit go, if you haven’t already.4

Smoking is Linked to Arthritis: Fact
Smoking has been connected to a multitude of health conditions, so it is little surprise that it is also linked to rheumatoid arthritis. A recent study showed that more than one third of cases of RA can be attributed at least in part to smoking.5 According to Mayo Clinic, smoking also weakens the drugs used to combat rheumatoid arthritis.6 Much like knuckle cracking, smoking might be a habit to kick.

Those with Joint Pain Should Avoid Movement and Exercise: Fiction
While it might not be comfortable to move while your joints are in pain, staying sedentary can cause damage and further joint pain. Exercise is helpful for those who are experiencing joint pain, helping them improve range of motion and flexibility. Not exercising will contribute to muscle, bone and cardiovascular deterioration, which will make it harder for you to exercise in the future.

Hydrotherapy Reduces Joint Pain and Arthritis Pain: Fact
As we have mentioned in a previous post, hydrotherapy can be a great way to relax, ease tension and reduce pain in your joints. Hydrotherapy can also reduce inflammation caused by arthritis, aid in digestion, induce sleep, ease diabetic pain and relax muscles. Studies suggest that it is the warm water that soothes the joints.7 These are just a few of the many benefits of hydrotherapy. There are a couple of ways to receive the soothing benefits of hydrotherapy, including a pool or a walk-in bathtub. If you would like to learn more about hydrotherapy, click here.

Keeping up to date with the latest arthritis and joint pain information can help you treat many potential health conditions. We hope that this look at some common misconceptions has helped you learn more about joint pain and what you can do to ease soreness. If you have any misconceptions that we did not go over, then please share with the Staying Put at Home community in our comment section.

1. Arthritis Frequently Asked Questions | Return to Text
2. 10 Common Rheumatoid Arthritis Myths | Return to Text
3. Is Cracking Your Knuckles Bad? | Return to Text
4. Does Knuckle Cracking Cause Arthritis? | Return to Text
5. 7 Bad Habits to Drop With Rheumatoid Arthritis | Return to Text
6. Smoking and Rheumatoid Arthritis | Return to Text
7. How Hydrotherapy Helps Seniors with Arthritis | Return to Text