Dear Donna:

My 82-year old father has arthritis. He’s lived with it for many years. I know he is really suffering from it but I can’t convince him to see the doctor. He says there is no cure for it so it is a waste of time and money. In all honesty, I’m not sure how many years it has been since my dad has even been to the doctor. He is very stubborn!

I saw a commercial on television about arthritis medication so I think there might be options for him. Any suggestions to offer?

Tami in Hudsonville, Michigan

Dear Tami:

It isn’t uncommon for older adults to be resistant to seeing a physician for a variety of reasons. But in this case, seeing a physician experienced at working with older adults who live with arthritis is the best way to relieve the pain it sounds like your father is feeling. While your dad is correct in saying there is no cure for arthritis, there are ways to manage it.

A physician can recommend treatment options ranging from pain relievers and steroids to physical therapy or aquatic therapy. Both of these therapies help strengthen and support the muscles around the damaged joint while improving range of motion. His doctor can also share information on the surprising role diet plays in preventing –or creating—the inflammation that makes the pain of arthritis worse.

The experts from the Arthritis Foundation offer the following advice on when someone with the disease should consult with a physician:

  • When pain, swelling, or stiffness is present in one or more joints
  • If joints appear reddened or warm to the touch
  • When moving a joint is difficult or when symptoms inhibit everyday activities

In addition, the experts recommend making an appointment with a doctor if symptoms persist for more than three days or if your father has more than one battle with his arthritis in a month. A gerontologist or a rheumatologist might be the best choice.

We hope sharing this information with your father may help change his mind and convince him to seek medical attention!



Heritage Senior Communities newest community assisted living community in Holland, Michigan will open its doors to new residents in June.