Top Five Tools for Seniors Who Suffer from Knee Pain
Knee pain is a common complaint among older adults, especially older women. In fact, one study found that knee pain affects nearly one-fourth (23 percent) of women over the age of 60 and 18 percent of men who fall into the same age bracket.
If you have an elderly loved one who is struggling with chronic knee pain, there are a few different tools you can get them to help them manage their pain and improve their quality of life.
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Listed below are five of the best tools every senior with knee pain ought to have on hand:
1. Hot/Cold Packs
Contrast therapy (alternating between ice and heat) has been shown to be more effective than either ice or heat alone when used to control knee pain, specifically knee pain related to osteoarthritis, which affects 10 percent of men and 13 percent of women over the age of 60.
The easiest way to utilize contrast therapy is to simply alternate between treating the affected knee with an ice pack and a heating pad. Alternating every 20 minutes is usually sufficient.
Look for an ice pack that freezes quickly but is still easy to manipulate (gel ice packs are great for this).
As for a heating pad, look for one that has a thick protective cover to help your loved one avoid overheating. The heating pad should also have an automatic shut-off timer in case they forget to manually turn it off.
2. Walking Aids
Depending on the severity of their knee pain, your loved one might have a difficult time walking for extended periods of time.
A walking aid can help improve their ability to get around on their own, whether they like to go for walks around the neighborhood or simply want to be able to walk around their home with more ease.
There are a few different types of walking aids you can choose from for your loved one, including the following:
Single-point canes: This is the most basic type of cane. It’s best for seniors who only need a little extra support and can, for the most part, move independently.
Quad cane: This is a cane that has a wider base with four small feet. It provides extra stability for seniors who need more support than what a single-point cane can offer.
Walker: A walker provides even more support and is the best option for seniors who have poor balance and lack the upper body strength necessary to use a cane. Walkers can be cumbersome, but many newer models are lightweight and easier to maneuver.
3. Raised Toilet Seat
Many seniors with knee pain struggle to lower and raise themselves when they’re using the bathroom. A raised commode or toilet seat can a big difference for these individuals and allow them to relieve themselves independently.
A raised toilet seat provides some extra height — usually between three and six inches — and allows seniors to bend their knees less as they sit to go to the bathroom.
Many raised toilet seats also have handles attached to them, which provide extra stability and make it easier for seniors to raise and lower themselves.
Some models permanently attach to the toilet. Others are portable and can easily be attached and removed as needed.
4. Seat Assist
In addition to raising and lowering themselves to sit on a toilet, many seniors also experience the same difficulty when they want to raise or lower themselves onto a regular chair.
Seat assists provide extra height to minimize pressure placed on the knees when your loved one goes to sit down or stand up.
Some seat assists contain springs and others are actually electronic. Electronic options will automatically raise and lower your loved one (slowly, of course) to make sitting and standing even easier.
5. Garden Bench
Gardening is a great past-time for seniors — it allows them to get outside and do something creative and productive — but it can also wreak havoc on their knees. If your parent has stopped or limited the amount of time they spend gardening because of their knee pain, a garden seat might be the right tool for them.
A garden bench is a cushioned pad that has support handles on the side. It’s usually elevated a few inches off the ground so your parent or loved one doesn’t have to fully kneel to tend to their garden. They can rest their knees on the cushion and then use the handles to help them stand up.
Your parent or loved one may be struggling with knee pain, but that doesn’t mean they have to forfeit their independence and stop doing things they enjoy. These five tools will make their lives easier and help to minimize their discomfort.