People with arthritis often get hit hard during the holidays. Along with the cold, dry weather, the stress of holiday preparations can cause flare-ups. While arthritis is a chronic disease and there’s no way to completely avoid flare-ups, it’s possible to have a more enjoyable holiday season by avoiding triggers. Here are some strategies for managing flare-ups you can share with your senior loved one, presented by Boca Raton Home Care Assistance.
Reduce Your Stress
While the connection between stress and RA isn’t fully understood, researchers believe it has something to do with the chemicals responsible for the body’s stress response and inflammation. These tips can reduce your stress during the holidays:
- Don’t be afraid to speak up. If any aspect of the holiday season or gathering causes you stress, talk to family members about changing the routine. Other people probably have no idea they’re doing something that’s stressful to you unless you say something.
- It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to opt out of any part of holiday plans or reduce your role if it’s too stressful for you.
- Turn to your favorite stress-fighting techniques. Whether it’s taking a bath, meditating, or going out for a massage, prepare for the holidays by taking time to care for yourself first.
Manage the Pain
Be sure you don’t skip any medication during busy family gatherings. You can also apply hot or cold packs to your joints. While hot packs tend to increase nerve sensitivity, some people find the warmth soothing on the joints. Cold packs, meanwhile, reduce blood flow to the inflamed areas to reduce the inflammation of arthritis.
Avoid Your Triggers
Rheumatoid arthritis triggers are different for everyone. While your triggers may not always be predictable, you likely have other triggers that can cause a flare-up aside from stress. Infection, for example, is a common trigger because RA medications suppress the immune system and increase the risk of infection. Even a mild flu may trigger a flare-up. Get a flu shot to reduce the risk of catching something while everyone is gathered under one roof.
Certain foods may also trigger a flare-up. Track which foods trigger RA symptoms and avoid them as best as possible during the holidays. If you aren’t sure what’s in a dish, don’t be afraid to ask. Common food triggers include dairy, excessive sugar, fats in meat, and gluten.
If you or a senior loved one could use additional support during the holiday season or throughout the rest of the year, don’t hesitate to reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our experienced Boca Raton caregivers can run errands, cook, perform light housekeeping duties, and offer companionship among other things. For more information, please call (561) 826.9282 and request a complimentary in-home consultation