Because May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month, many people are sharing what it’s like to live with the disease. From elderly adults to family caregivers to doctors, the stories and experiences of life with fibromyalgia are shared in hopes that someone else will be inspired. The disease is often misunderstood and underdiagnosed in the elderly population, making it even more important for family caregivers to learn all they can about fibromyalgia in seniors.
Characterized by chronic, widespread pain throughout the body, fibromyalgia can have a significant impact on an elderly person’s ability to take care of themselves. It becomes even more complicated if the aging adult has other chronic illnesses or diseases. The bottom line is that caring for an aging relative with fibromyalgia is challenging for family members who want to help as much as possible.
Here are 5 ways that family caregivers can assist their elderly loved ones with understanding and managing fibromyalgia.
1. Get Educated.
It’s important that family caregivers learn all they can about the disease so they can work with doctors to implement strategies for management and treatment. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are some things that can be done to lessen the symptoms and improve their quality of life. Fibromyalgia Awareness Month means more information than ever is available.
2. Recognize the Symptoms.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia are often difficult to recognize because they mimic other conditions. Besides the pain and aches, seniors can experience headaches, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, mood swings, and mental health issues like depression or anxiety. Because the physical symptoms are shared with many other conditions and illnesses, family caregivers and doctors must eliminate other possibilities before diagnosing fibromyalgia.
3. Make Lifestyle Changes.
Studies show that simple lifestyle changes can go a long way toward controlling flair-ups of the disease. Among the most effective are implementing exercise, a nutritious diet, and restful sleep. Some people notice that certain foods trigger a painful episode, and many report that stress is also a factor in how bad the symptoms are. Family caregivers can do a lot to facilitate these lifestyle adjustments to help their loved ones with the disease.
4. Hire Home Care Providers.
Fibromyalgia can seriously affect a person’s ability to take care of themselves. A home care provider can assist with bathing, dressing, grooming, driving, laundry, and housekeeping. They can remind the elderly person to take their medicine and make nutritious meals and snacks. With a professional home care provider attending to the elderly adult, they’ll be able to stay as stress-free as possible, which is better for the condition.
5. Keep Living Life to the Fullest.
It’s easy for elderly adults to become voluntarily homebound when they are dealing with the discomfort and pain of fibromyalgia. However, they shouldn’t miss out on all the events, activities and family gatherings that they need to stay connected to loved ones. Family caregivers and home care providers can play a big part in helping seniors with fibromyalgia to stay active and involved in their community.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring home care in Westfield, NJ, call the caring staff at Helping Hands Home Care today at 908-418-4299. Providing Home Care Services in all of Northern and Central NJ, including Clark, Westfield, Cranford, Scotch Plains, Rahway, Linden, Summit, Edison, Elizabeth, Mountainside and the surrounding areas.