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5 Stretches for Seniors with Arthritis

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Arthritis affects approximately fifty-two million American adults. If your elderly loved one is among the seniors affected by arthritis, he or she may be looking for ways to relieve some of the joint stiffness and discomfort caused by this common condition. Read on for five stretches that the senior care experts at Palm Beach Home Care Assistance suggest you share with your elderly loved one.  

1. Chest and Arm Stretch
To improve posture, stand comfortably and clasp hands behind the back. Keeping the back as straight as possible, use back and shoulder muscles to pull the shoulder blades together, and roll the shoulders forward and back. This move can relieve upper back stiffness and discomfort and may lead to increased shoulder flexibility.

2. Side Bends
To perform side bends, stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart and clasp hands above the head. Roll shoulders back to stretch the muscles in the arms, sides, and neck. After 30 seconds, lean to the left side, stand straight, and lean to the right side. This exercise helps to maintain a flexible spine and make reduce arthritis pain in the lower back and shoulders.

3. Hamstring Stretch
To strengthen the hips and knees and relieve some stiffness in those joints, sit in a chair, and slowly raise one leg up until it is straight ahead. If necessary, lift leg with the arms to support it. Hold the leg in place for several seconds, then repeat on the other side. For seniors who still find this stretch challenging, an hourly caregiver in Palm Beach may also lift or hold the leg instead.

4. Yoga
Yoga has a number of health benefits, including greater mobility, increased flexibility, and improved mood. While many yoga stretches can be help seniors with arthritis, the chair stretch is particularly good for stiff knees and hips. Performed by placing the feet shoulder width apart, lifting the arms over the head, and bending slightly at the knee as if sitting down in a chair, this stretch also strengthens the legs and improves balance. If this stretch is too difficult, try bending at the knee with arms lowered. 

5. Tai Chi
A gentle form of stretching and exercise that does not cause joint strain, Tai Chi strengthens the body and improves flexibility when performed consistently. A common Tai Chi stretch, arm rolls or circles loosen the shoulders and back muscles and open the chest cavity to enhance breathing. For the best results, start standing with feet shoulder-width apart and swing arms up overhead, around behind the back, and down again and complete several full circles.

For other ways to help your elderly loved one address physical and mobility challenges, consider reaching out to Home Care Assistance. Our expertly trained caregivers can assist with a variety of in-home activities, including cooking, navigating the home, and personal grooming, that are difficult for seniors with arthritis and other physical conditions, like Parkinson’s disease. To learn more about our Palm Beach Parkinson’s care and other senior care services, give a Care Manager a call at 561.429.8292 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.