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6 Ways to Treat Hand Ailments in Older Adults

By Melissa Hill, 9:00 am on

Many seniors live with hand ailments. Whether they have joint stiffness caused by arthritis or an unpleasant rash, there are many treatments available. Here are a few ways to treat some of the hand ailments that commonly affect seniors. 

1. Hand Exercises

Seniors with stiff joints may want to start their exercise session by warming their hands with a hot pack. This increases the elasticity of the joints, making them more amenable to stretching. Once the joints are thoroughly warm, seniors can start by holding out their arms in front of the chest, palms faced down, make a fist, then slowly spread the fingers apart. They should repeat this at least ten times. To increase wrist flexibility, they should do ten repetitions of wrist circles. 

Seniors who need assistance with exercise and help around the house can benefit from having a professional caregiver. Oklahoma City home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

2. Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Drugs known as NSAIDs reduce the inflammation that causes joint discomfort. They aren’t a permanent solution to chronic conditions, but they certainly help. 

3. Emollients and Humidifiers

Many seniors complain of itchy skin on their hands. Rashes caused by dry skin frequently occur on the hands, especially during the colder months. The combination of aging skin, cold weather, and frequent hand washing leaves hands dry, itchy, and prone to rashes. Sometimes these rashes are due to a condition known as pruritus, which is associated with skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Seniors who have severe rashes should see a dermatologist. In the meantime, they can treat their condition by using soap-free substitutes, slathering their skin in emollients, and using a humidifier during the winter. 

4. Topical Creams

Seniors who have difficulty ingesting pain medication may want to try topical ointments like capsaicin cream. These creams work by affecting the pain signals in the body. When the cream is applied to an inflamed area like the wrist, it releases a compound that transmits pain sensations from the nerves to the body. By interrupting this signal, capsaicin cream gives users a temporary reprieve from pain. 

When older adults develop hand ailments, their family caregivers are not always able to provide the care they need. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Oklahoma City families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation.

5. Finger and Wrist Splints

For seniors who have twisted or injured their hand, wrist, or fingers, splints are a helpful treatment method. They provide support to tired, inflamed joints, and they can prevent further injury. Splints tend to be made of metal or neoprene. 

6. Hot Packs and Cold Packs

Inflammation responds to hot and cold temperatures. Ice packs are best for swollen, inflamed hands. Heat is great for seniors managing the aches brought on by arthritis. Those with hand ailments can use hot packs or cold packs, or they could simply rest their hands in a basin of hot or cold water.

Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Oklahoma City live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place. To hire a licensed, professionally trained, and compassionate caregiver for your elderly loved one, call us at 405-285-4191 today.