Home Care Tips for Seniors with Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia affects roughly five million Americans each year. While Fibromyalgia can be diagnosed at any age and occurs in both women and men, most cases affect middle-aged and elderly women. Characterized by unexplained pain and tenderness, fibromyalgia can significantly impact quality of life and represents a challenge for home care providers.
“Coping with fibromyalgia is tough on care recipients,” says Visiting Angels CEO and President Larry Meigs. “While there’s no silver bullet, there are strategies that home care providers can use to help seniors manage their fibromyalgia and its symptoms.”
If you help provide home care to a parent or grandparent with fibromyalgia, the following tips can help you better understand and manage your loved one’s condition.
Seniors with Fibromyalgia
Unfortunately, there’s a lot that we don’t know about fibromyalgia. Medical science is still catching up to this condition, and doctors still don’t know its causes or precisely how it works.
Here’s what we do know: Fibromyalgia most often starts in middle age and roughly 80% of cases occur in women. Fibromyalgia risk is linked to family history, and can sometimes be triggered by an infection, traumatic incident, or stress. The disorder most commonly leads to widespread pain and tenderness, localized in specific zones across a person’s body. It also can also lead to problems with fatigue, sleep issues, cognitive problems, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and emotional upset.
There is no known cure for fibromyalgia, though many sufferers are able to successfully manage their condition. Pain medications, healthy sleeping habits, and regular exercise are all linked to successful fibromyalgia management. In certain cases, avoiding certain foods can help.
Seniors with fibromyalgia may have their symptoms complicated or worsened by other existing conditions. It’s also important for seniors with fibromyalgia to take other health concerns into account when managing their condition.
Home Care & Fibromyalgia
Providing home care for a senior with fibromyalgia can require extra effort on behalf of the care provider. Caregivers need to keep in mind that seniors with fibromyalgia are more likely to feel pain and will feel it more intensely than other seniors. It’s therefore important to be as gentle as possible when providing physical care to seniors with fibromyalgia.
Home care providers can also help seniors with fibromyalgia manage their condition. Some of the ways that home care can contribute to fibromyalgia management include:
- Reminding seniors to take pain medication on schedule.
- Helping seniors manage healthy sleep habits.
- Encouraging frequent light to moderate exercise.
- Planning meals that avoid foods that trigger fibromyalgia pain.
- Offering compassion during painful, depressive, or anxious episodes.
If you have a parent or grandparent who has fibromyalgia, it is important that your home care strategies conform to their doctor’s orders and advice. See if you can speak directly with their doctor for advice on how your care can help your loved one manage their condition.
You might also consider professional part-time or full-time in-home care to help your loved one manage their fibromyalgia. To find out how non-medical home care from Visiting Angels can help your loved one cope with fibromyalgia, contact your local office today.
Note: Visiting Angels does not provide medical care. If you are concerned about a loved one’s health or that they may be experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia, please contact their health care professional. The information contained in this article is meant as informative only and should not be considered a recommendation for care, treatment or diagnosis.