Senior Adapting to Osteoarthritis
It has taken awhile, but 75-year-old "Sally" has adapted to having osteoarthritis. She has been a widow many years and doesn't want her real name published. A doctor diagnosed her with osteoarthritis about ten years ago.
In a telephone interview, she said, "I don't perceive myself as having problems getting around and yet at the same time I know I do. I began having difficulty getting around at age 70 and have slowed down quite a bit since."
According to a National Institutes of Health website, osteoarthritis is "a joint disease that mostly affects cartilage." Cartilage helps a person absorb the shock of movement (similar to a shock absorber in a car) and when cartilage wears away, the bones underneath it rub together. That rubbing can cause swelling, pain, and loss of motion in a joint.
Sally has adapted well. "For example, I have a toilet riser to help me get up off the seat," she said. "To get up and down any steps, I need a railing, preferably on both sides. When I go out in winter weather, when there is ice, I wear special shoes for traction. And in the winter, I don't go outside without my cane."
In addition, every winter she lays down a string of wooden pallets between her back door and garage to create a level surface that helps make walking to her vehicle safer. Already thinking ahead to a day when unable to climb steps to her second floor, she has plans to move her bedroom downstairs.
As for adapting, she said, "I take the abilities I have right now and go with what I have. I'm not concerned about the things I can't do anymore. I'm just learning to live with what I have. But what's my choice? I believe it's better to be over the hill than under it."
She has thought about having knee replacement surgery, but fears the pain she would experience in rehabilitation and dreads the thought of the joints not lasting long. Compounding her problems has been recently diagnosed diabetes. With it, she has been told to exercise more, and yet can't because of her aching knees and winter weather. Outside winter, she does short walks and yard work.
She advised people with osteoarthritis to live within their limitations, and added, "I could just curl up and die, but I won't."
LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesPlacer County Sports Tourism Filling Hotels Memorial Day WeekendThe ASA Memorial Day Classic and Rocklin Pony Baseball Tournament, with support from Placer Valley Tourism, are hosting their annual Memorial Day weekend
$1.3 Million Savings in Placer Water Agency Refinance?Directors of the Placer County Water Agency on Thursday (May 16) approved a debt restructuring that is expected to save the agency $1.3 million
Woman Taunted as a TeenagerMy featured person this week agreed to be interviewed only under condition of anonymity. Janet" was born with
Bayside West Church Opens Registration for Breakaway 2013Bayside West Community Church's annual summer camp for kids that includes in-depth Bible stories, wet and wild games, awesome music, and
Roseville Students Awarded for Anti-Tobacco ArtworkAndrew Kurtz, a 17-year-old senior at Roseville's Woodcreek High School, was shocked to look up from his desk and see his parents and a group of photographers
Child Support Services Open House in Rocklin May 21Placer County's Department of Child Support Services is hosting a monthly "Open House" seminar to provide information to residents interested in learning more about the services it provides.
Deals: Thunder Valley Concert Ticket PackagesLINCOLN - Guests will have the chance to purchase a limited number of exclusive season ticket packages for Thunder Valley Casino Resort's much anticipated Summer Concert Series this Saturday, May 18.
Roseville Company Buys Huntington Park Complex for $11 Million USA Properties Fund Inc. has acquired Huntington Plaza Apartments, a 184-unit senior housing community in Huntington Park in central Los Angeles County.